Bobbi L. Parker, 49, was married to Randy Parker, assistant warden at the Oklahoma State Reformatory, a medium-security facility in Granite, when Randolph Franklin Dial escaped from the prison on August 30, 1994. Bobbie Parker disappeared as well. Nothing was heard of the pair until authorities, acting on a tip after their story was aired on America’s Most Wanted, discovered them living as husband and wife in a mobile home on an isolated chicken ranch in Campti, Texas in 2005. [See: PLN, Nov. 2005, p.23].
Parker claimed that Dial had drugged her, kidnapped her at knifepoint and kept her as a hostage by threatening that his “mob connections” would kill her family if she fled. Dial confirmed that that was accurate.
After being captured, Dial returned to prison to serve out the life sentence for murder he was serving at the time of his escape. He died in prison of cancer in 2007 at age 62. [See: PLN, July 2007, p.34]. To his dying day he maintained that both he and Bobbi Parker were telling the truth about him kidnapping her and holding her against her will; regardless, Parker was charged with helping Dial escape. [See: PLN, Nov. 2008, p.19].
According to the prosecutor’s version of events, Parker met Dial and fell in love with him while they were working together in the prison’s pottery program. The program was based out of the garage of her house, which was located on the prison property. During her four-month trial, which included the testimony of over 80 witnesses and almost 800 pieces of evidence, the prosecution produced prisoner witnesses who testified that they saw Bobbi Parker and Dial behaving inappropriately in the assistant warden’s house where she, her husband and her two young daughters lived.
During deliberations, the jury asked to travel to the prison to view the house. About two hours after returning from the trip, they returned a guilty verdict and recommended a one-year sentence. Although Parker faced up to ten years in prison for helping a prisoner escape, Greer County District Judge Richard Darby accepted the jury’s recommendation and sentenced her to a year.
Proclaiming that she did not receive a fair trial, defense attorney Garvin Issacs vowed to appeal the verdict. “I will never quit until Bobbi Parker is a free woman,” he said. “We had overwhelming evidence of Bobbi Parker’s innocence.... We’re going to have another trial in this case. This case will be reversed on appeal.”
An alternate juror who did not help decide the case agreed, expressing surprise at the verdict. “I thought Mr. Issacs did a wonderful job. I think he proved she was kidnapped,” said alternate juror Glenda Christian.
In May 2012, however, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Parker’s appeal after denying her additional time to purchase a copy of the lengthy trial transcript, which was estimated to cost about $100,000. The appellate court had declined to find Parker indigent, meaning she was responsible for the cost of the transcript.
In the interim, Parker had been released from prison on April 5, 2012 after serving about seven months.
Sources: Associated Press, www.correctionsone.com, www.news9.com, www.tulsaworld.com
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