A Black father and US Army veteran was released from an Oklahoma jail on bond Tuesday (June 15) after spending over a year in jail for shooting a man he believed was burglarizing his business.
LaRue Bratcher faces a first-degree murder charge from last May and was released after Black Lives Matter- Oklahoma City covered the cost of his $400,000 bond. According to KFOR News, Bratcher and his loved ones say his fight for freedom is far from over.
“It was such a blessed day just to see him walk out those doors,” Vicky Bratcher, his wife, told the outlet. “The emotions we all had –– me, my kids, just all his family –– it was unbelievable.”
“He’s very happy, excited, to be around all of us, the family, kids,” his wife said. “He’s also reserved. He’s still not free the way we all are,” she added. Bratcher will remain on house arrest after his release.
According to the outlet, LaRue fatally shot Daniel Hardwick last May after Bratcher told authorities his security cameras showed Hardwick enter his marijuana growing business through a hole in the fence. Bratcher reportedly grabbed a gun, asked what Hardwick was doing before firing his weapon through the door three times. Court records reportedly show Bratcher fired the shots to “scare the subject off,” but when he opened the door, Hardwick had been fatally wounded. Bratcher then reportedly called 911.
In addition to the murder charge, Bratcher faces a charge for operating an illegal marijuana business, but the father of five maintains the business is legitimate, and that his license to grow marijuana lapsed. Bratcher’s family and advocates say he was defending himself.
“This is a tragic accident that should never have happened and LaRue’s heart and my heart goes out to the gentleman’s family, but this would have never happened if the gentleman had not come to [Bratcher’s] place of business,” LaRue’s uncle, Derrick Neighbors said. “For me, justice is pretty simple –– ‘Do I defend myself or let him break in?’ LaRue was in his own place of business.”
LaRue is scheduled to stand trial in October.