By Steve Shaw, News 9
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Oklahoma -- A Seminole County Judge sentenced a man to life in prison on Monday for murdering two Sheriff's deputies in cold blood three years ago.
Ezekiel Holbert's death penalty trial was scheduled to begin April 23. But a plea deal sends Holbert to prison for three consecutive life-terms.
In exchange, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.
Police say Holbert shot and killed Seminole County Sheriff's deputies Chase Whitebird and Marvin Williams in July of 2009. The deputies were trying to arrest Holbert for failure to appear in court.
Seminole County District Attorney Chris Ross says Holbert had been inhaling solvents the day of the murders, and there is strong evidence he was extremely intoxicated.
"I had four other prosecutors view it. It was everyone's opinion he was very clearly highly intoxicated," Ross said.
Ross told News 9 the fact opens the door to what is known in defense circles as "Voluntary Intoxication."
The defense would have argued Holbert didn't know what he was doing when he killed those deputies. That could have put it in the hands of a jury to decide.