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"Victory" for Oklahoma family after volunteer sheriff's deputy convicted

Oklahoma family "can have some peace" after Robert Bates conviction 02:45

A former Oklahoma volunteer sheriff's deputy and wealthy insurance executive faces up to four years in prison for killing an unarmed suspect.

Sheriff's deputies wasted no time whisking Robert Bates away in handcuffs. The former Tulsa County reserve deputy was convicted of second degree manslaughter for killing Eric Harris, reports CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca.

After a year of heartache, the Harris family declared victory.

"That's victory for my family. I can rest. I can have some peace!" brother Andre Harris said.

Last April, Bates shot and killed Harris during a felony sting operation. Harris was unarmed but ran from deputies. Bates was supposed to be backup but ended up on top of a pile of deputies trying to arrest Harris.

"Mr. Harris shouldn't have been there that day, but it certainly didn't give Bob Bates the right to kill him," prosecutor Kevin Gray said.

Federal inquiry launched into the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office 01:48

Bates said he meant to use his Taser to subdue Harris, but accidentally pulled the trigger on his pistol.

Bates' lawyer failed to convince jurors that Harris died from a bad heart and a mix of drugs found in his system and not from the gunshot wound. The jury deliberated less than three hours and recommended the maximum sentence for Bates, determining that Bates had acted recklessly.

"It was an especially difficult case to try in the climate of press that we've had that's been negative for 12 months," Bates' attorney Clark Brewster said.

The shooting sparked protests and raised questions as to why a then-73-year-old reserve deputy was involved in high-stakes takedowns.

Bates was a close friend to former sheriff Stanley Glanz and donated thousands to the Tulsa sheriff's department.

Robert Bates' behavior in the field was questioned in 2009 01:57

An internal investigation shows that other deputies were concerned that Bates hadn't received proper training. They described his behavior in the field as "scary," but they were told by supervisors to "stop messing with [Bates] because he does a lot ... for the County."

"The case though is not only about Mr. Bates conduct, but it's about why he was allowed to be there to begin with," Harris family attorney Dan Smolen said.

Glanz resigned in November and is under investigation.

Bates' attorneys plan to appeal the verdict. Meanwhile, the Harris family has a pending civil suit against the county.

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