Jimmy Smith, one of three men accused of beating and paralyzing Oklahoma City police officer Chad Peery, apologized Friday morning for his part in the February 2011 attack.
Smith pleaded guilty to assault and battery with force likely to cause death. The charge can carry a sentence of life in prison, but Smith accepted a deal from the Oklahoma County district attorney of 10 years in prison and 10 years probation.
Smith told the court and Peery's family he apologized from the bottom of his heart for what happened that night. He also said he prayed every day that Peery would recover 100 percent.
Peery was at Dan O'Brien's Pub in northwest Oklahoma City when an employee asked the off-duty officer to escort three unruly men out of the bar.
The three men exchanged words with Peery then a fight broke out. Prosecutors said the men attacked Peery and paralyzed him.
Chad Peery was not in court for Friday's pleading, but his parents were. They told News 9 they are disappointed the trial for one of the other accused attackers, Joshua Rinken, has been postponed. It was scheduled to begin Monday, February 13.
Rinken's attorney has asked a higher court to offer his client the same plea deal Smith received. The district attorney's office did offer the deal to Rinken last summer, in exchange for his testimony in another case. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says he took the offer off the table because Rinken and his attorney tried to wrangle a plea deal on a lesser charge.
Prater confirms that, out of fairness, his office offered the deal to Smith, too. Cadmio Lopez, who is accused of holding people back during the fight, entered a blind plea and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 15 years probation. He has since entered a motion to withdraw his plea. His next court hearing is set for February 24.