OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma appeals court has dismissed the appeal of a former prison warden’s wife who was convicted of helping a convicted killer escape, and her defense attorney said Tuesday he plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to look into the case.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed Bobbi Parker’s appeal after denying her more time to purchase a transcript of her four-month trial that is estimated to cost $100,000. The court also refused to declare Park indigent, which would have allowed her to bill the state for the transcript.
Parker was convicted of helping Randolph Franklin Dial escape from the Oklahoma State Reformatory more than 17 years ago, and she spent about seven months in prison. Prosecutors said she fell in love with Dial while they worked in a prison pottery program, but Parker maintains Dial forced her to help him escape and then held her hostage for more than 10 years before they were found.
Defense attorney Garvin Isaacs said Parker, who is unemployed, is indigent and cannot afford the cost of the transcript, which he said was vital to her appeal. But the appeals court upheld a ruling by Greer County District Judge Richard Darby, who in January decided that Parker didn’t qualify as indigent.
In his ruling, Darby noted that Parker had checking, savings and retirement accounts each containing several thousand dollars and owns a house in Carmen that neither she nor her husband, Randy Parker, live in that is worth about $50,000 that could help finance her appeal.
Darby also said Parker’s husband, who has worked at the Department of Corrections for 27 years, is paid $59,000 a year as its security and facility operations manager and has never tapped into his retirement account.
Isaacs said he would ask the nation’s highest court to determine whether Parker is indigent.
“You cannot use the family’s money to determine whether a defendant is indigent,” Isaacs said.
Assistant District Attorney David Thomas agreed with the appeals court and was confident the U.S. Supreme Court, if it considers the case, would agree.
“The woman is not indigent,” Thomas said. “I don’t think anything different would be forthcoming.”
Parker was sentenced to a year in prison following her conviction in September. She was released from the Hillside Community Correctional Center in Oklahoma City on April 5, after serving a little more than half the sentence.
At the time of Dial’s escape, Parker lived with her husband, the prison’s former deputy warden, on the prison grounds. Prosecutors alleged Parker fell in love with Dial while working together in the pottery program, which was based in the couple’s garage. She and Dial disappeared on Aug. 30, 1994.
Defense attorneys contended that Dial, who was serving life in prison for first-degree murder, drugged Parker, kidnapped her and held her hostage. Parker and Dial were discovered living together as man and wife on a chicken farm in Texas in April 2005.
Dial pleaded guilty to escape before his death in 2007. The 62-year-old maintained he kidnapped Parker at knifepoint and forced her to drive him from the prison in Granite.
But prosecutors claimed she was a willing accomplice and that the two formed a pact that if either were captured they would say she was kidnapped and held against her will.