Oklahoma Victims Sue Over Shooter's Wrongful Prison Release

Victims of a fatal bank robbery in eastern Oklahoma are suing over the shooter's improper prison release.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of Randy Peterson, who was president of the Bank of Eufaula when fatally shot in the January 2016 robbery. Others who filed the suit include employee Betty Howell, who was shot but survived, and members of their families.

The shooter, Cedric Norris, had twice been released from Texas prisons despite having a 60-year sentence to serve in Oklahoma for robbery convictions in Tulsa and Creek counties. Police fatally shot Norris after the bank robbery.

The lawsuit accuses the counties and the Corrections Department of failing to ensure Norris carried out his prison sentences.

Creek County District Attorney Max Cook has said that miscommunication between Texas and Oklahoma resulted in Norris' release.

"Apparently there was a breakdown in communication, I guess, whether it was Texas' fault or Oklahoma's fault," Cook said.

Norris was first released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice custody after a two-year term for a 2007 burglary conviction. Three weeks earlier, he received sentences totaling 60 years in Oklahoma.

He was released from custody in Texas for a second time in 2012 after he served another robbery sentence.

The lawsuit says the Eufaula bank robbery occurred because the Oklahoma Department of Corrections didn't take action to ensure Norris' return from Texas.

Department spokesman Mark Myers declined The Associated Press' request for comment Friday, citing the pending litigation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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