The comments on this post talk about what happened at the December 2022 Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board meeting. This is a huge win for all criminalized survivors in Oklahoma!
PI response letter
The response from the Parole Investigator (who recommended she move forward with parole to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board) for why April was denied a parole hearing in 2022 this year reads thus:
“The Board is not obligated to provide a reason for denial as they did not provide a reason for years 2013, 2016, and 2019. A reason for denial was provided for 2022 as ‘A’: ‘The aggravating factors associated with the original crime, INCLUDING ANY DA OR VICTIM PROTEST, currently outweigh any mitigating factors in support of parole at this time.'” (emphasis added) Response dated 4/7/2022. I asked in writing instead of in person so that I have documentation.”
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board chose from a form list of responses.
To read the protest letter Tulsa DA Steve Kunzweiler’s office sent to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board see this link.
To learn about past cases like April’s, and where April’s falls within them, see this link.
If you would like a brief update on the current status of April’s case, see this link which contains a link to a petition currently at over 500+ signatures.
April Wilkens was denied parole for a fourth time this month by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. Richard Smothermon, Edward Konieczny, and Scott Williams all voted against this woman. Larry Morris was her only yes vote, but this time, she didn’t even get a parole hearing. However, the board, this same month, voted to give a full recommendation to the Crossbow Killer, a man whose female victim died by a poisoned arrow. Does this seem fair to you?
In the latest news VNN coverage of April’s case, OU faculty Susan Sharp is interviewed. She wrote the book Mean Lives, Mean Laws, about how Oklahoma oversentences and overpunishes women incarcerated in our state. April Wilkens is a prime example of how women are treated. The board is currently all men, and it shows.
It is an injustice that these men voted against even giving April Wilkens a voice. Did they even read the letters of support sent in? Did they even read April’s letter to them? They need to read Prison Policy’s latest report.
We will try for commutation next, but it will still the be the same all-male board (unless a woman is appointed to replace Kelly Doyle, who resigned just days before they voted on April’s parole jacket). We are putting together a petition, but in the meantime, please lift your voice in support of April’s. You can contact the board and explain your view on this issue: Boardmembers@ppb.ok.gov or leave a voice mail message at 405-522-9227.