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Oct 19, 11:27 AM EDT

Ex-deputy who shot unarmed man released early from prison


SAYRE, Okla. (AP) -- A white former Oklahoma reserve deputy who fatally shot an unarmed black man when he mistook his firearm for a stun gun has been released from prison after serving less than half of his four-year sentence.

Department of Corrections spokesman Matt Elliott says 76-year-old Robert Bates was released Thursday morning from the North Fork Correctional Center in western Oklahoma.

The former Tulsa County sheriff's volunteer deputy was released after serving just over 16 months behind bars because he got credit for good behavior. Bates will be on probation for nine more months.

The Harris shooting drew thousands of county residents to petition for a grand jury to investigate allegations that Bates was unqualified to serve as a deputy but was kept on the force because of his close ties to indicted ex-Sheriff Stanley Glanz.

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