Man Guilty Of Deadly Hit-And-Run Asks To Join The Marines To Avoid Prison

news

After being convicted of a 2015 hit-and-run in Verdigris, Oklahoma, that left one teen dead and another critically injured, Gage Shriver posed an alternative punishment to his judge: that, instead of a 25-year prison stretch, he be allowed to do penance by joining the Marines.


Yeah… no.

“I’m not the type of person that would leave those girls there for dead,” Shriver, 21, said, referring to the women he’d left for dead — mortally wounded 18-year-old Noelle New and grievously injured Maranda Talley — in a pre-sentencing investigation report obtained by the Oklahoma City-based Fox News affiliate KOKI.

Instead, he said in the report, “I ask that you allow me to join the Marine Corps.”

The proposal didn’t fly… at all. Instead, Shriver was handed a first-degree manslaughter conviction, and his brother, Dakota Shriver, 23, was convicted of second-degree murder. The brothers were sentenced to 25 years in prison Dec. 9, according to Tulsa World.

New and Talley, who survived and is now 20, were walking to a convenience store in the early morning hours on June 5, 2015, when they were struck by a pickup truck driven by Gage Shriver. The Shrivers left the scene. The incident had occurred shortly after Gage was punched by his brother, Dakota, during a drunken argument, according to Tulsa World. The paper also reported that Gage Shriver had a “0.023 percent blood alcohol concentration” when he was tested seven hours after the crash — because he was under 21 at the time, the amount met the threshold for drunk driving.

The teens were left on the side of the road for more than two hours before the Shrivers returned to the scene, with their mother, Dorothea Butanda, who called 911. The brothers’ claims that they didn’t see New or Talley until they came back to the scene was a point of contention in the court case, and was part of the reasoning behind the first-degree manslaughter charge for Gage Shriver, and the second-degree murder charge for his brother, who admitted to misleading police. Butanda faces charges as an accessory; officials claim she attempted to conceal her sons’ involvement in the incident and will have her day in court in January 2018, Tulsa World reports.

Gage Shriver’s attempt to skirt prison has its roots in the “go to jail or join the military” myth; a decades-old but now largely defunct practice in which one could opt out of a sentence for some infractions by serving in uniform.

Related: Marine Colonel Arrested In Massive, Aptly Named Prostitution Sting »

While judges often have the ability to offer alternative sentences such as military service — usually for minor charges — there’s no requirement that the service actually accept the candidate; in some cases, recruiters are strictly barred from doing so, The Balance notes.

That was the case for Michael Guerra from North Tonawanda, New York, who received a conditional sentence in 2006 for aggravated assault; he was given the option of dodging a yearlong prison stint by joining the Army, Stars and Stripes reported. But because Guerra’s criminal case was still open — pending his enlistment in the service — the Army could not accept him, since the service is barred from enlisting individuals who are facing pending charges.

Gage Shriver’s proposal never got that far — neither did his attorney’s request for leniency in the form of split sentences and supervised probation for the brothers, according to Tulsa World.  

It’s not surprising that a drunk driver who fled the scene of a fatal crash to allegedly hide evidence of his involvement doesn’t really meet the standards of “the few, the proud.” Nor does it make sense for vehicular slaughterers to reap service benefits like free health care, education, and regular wages.

“So, yeah, I was just kind of shocked and I thought, oh, so you just want a little slap on the wrist,” New’s mother, Brandy Whitmire, said, according to KFOR-TV an Oklahoma City-based NBC News affiliate, before adding that Shriver’s request stemmed from “a lifetime of not being held accountable.”

(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephane Belcher)

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.

On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.

Read More Show Less
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove (Lincoln County Sheriff's Office)

A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.

Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.

Read More Show Less
Sailors from USS George Washington (CVN 73) wear-test the I-Boot 5 at Naval Station Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photo by Courtney Williams)

Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.

"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."

Read More Show Less
Senator Jim Inhofe speaks with local reporters at a press conference held at the 138th Fighter Wing August 2, 2018. (U.S. National Guard/Staff Sgt. Rebecca R. Imwalle)

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn leveled harsh criticism last week at the contractor accused of negligence and fraudulent activity while operating private housing at Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations.

Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, referred to Balfour Beatty Communities as "notorious." Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told a company executive she was "incredibly disappointed you have failed to live up to your responsibility for taking care of the people that are living in these houses."

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senator Rick Scott speaks during a press conference at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 29, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal)

The Saudi national who killed three students on a U.S. Naval Air station in Pensacola was in the United States on a training exchange program.

On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott said the United States should suspend that program, which brings foreign nationals to America for military training, pending a "full review."

Read More Show Less