Free LaRue Bratcher in Oklahoma.

Free LaRue Bratcher in Oklahoma.

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LaRue Bratcher, a 34-year-old Black Army veteran from Oklahoma, remains behind bars on a charge of first-degree murder more than a year after he shot and killed a white man allegedly trying to break into his marijuana grow business. A day after the arrest, Bratcher was released on bond. But just a week later, the city’s district attorney’s office reviewed the case and upgraded Bratcher’s charges to second-degree murder. One week later, police raided Bratcher’s home, escorting him, his children and his wife to the street, and arrested Bratcher again. Then, after he refused to accept a plea deal late last year, Bratcher’s charges were upgraded to first-degree murder. 

Bratcher’s wife, who also served in the U.S. military, believes the courts are making Hardwick out to be the victim and using her husband’s Army training against him.

“We’ve been fighting for this country and at the end of the day, it feels like you come home and it doesn’t mean anything to anybody,” Vicky Bratcher said.

Vicky added that at last year’s bond hearing, prosecutors said her husband was a “threat to the community” because of his previous combat training and expertise with a weapon.

“They used our experience of being a veteran [against us],” she said. “That’s literally a slap in the face.”

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