Murray County residents react to lawmaker's call for judge's removal

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MURRAY COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) -- Oklahoma State Representative Mike Ritze is calling for the removal of District Judge Wallace Coppedge, after he approved probation time for a child rapist.

"That was pure mistake on their part," resident Beth White said.

Murray County resident Beth White says she was angry when she heard that an admitted child rapist would avoid prison time.

"That child is going to have nightmares for the rest of her life," She said.

Benjamin Petty confessed to raping the 13-year-old girl at Falls Creek church camp in 2016.

Court documents state attorneys for the victim and suspect agreed to assistant district attorney David Pyle's deal that sentenced Petty to 15 years probation.

Those documents state District Judge Wallace Coppedge asked if the victim's family was OK with the decision, and their lawyer agreed.

"If he'll do it once he'll do it again," White said.

That deal cost Pyle his job last month.

Now Oklahoma state representative Mike Ritze of Tulsa has introduced House Resolution 1025, asking the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary to begin removal proceedings for Judge Coppedge.

The resolution says Coppedge grossly neglected his duty in accepting that plea agreement.

But, the resolution isn't legally binding if passed.

"If he hadn't agreed to let this happen, it wouldn't have gone through," White said.

Care 2 (an online advocacy network) recently created a petition calling for the removal of Judge Coppedge.

It now has more than 75,000 signatures online.

"This man raped a 13-year-old girl and isn't going to jail, that's just really outrageous to people because this was a violent crime and this man is going to be walking the streets," Care 2 spokesperson Julie Mastrine said.

We reached out to Representative Ritze and the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary, but haven't heard back.



 
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