A woman is one step closer to being released from prison after she was convicted in 2002 of attempting to kill a Guthrie police officer while serving a search warrant at her residence.
Despite a Payne County jury unanimous decision of convicting Shirley Cloyd of shooting with intent to kill, possession with intent to manufacture, possession of a firearm while committing felony, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-1 to advance the commutation application.
Cloyd was sentenced to 50 years in prison for shooting with intent to kill, and over 25 years in the remaining counts, running consecutively. Cloyd’s appeals were denied by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
The final hearing for Phase 2 is scheduled via videoconference on May 4 where the Parole Board will hear oral protests from prosecutors and victims in the case before voting to advance the commutation application to the Governor’s desk.
“When is the Pardon and Parole Board going to start respecting our citizens and the difficult decisions they make to protect our communities and law enforcement in jury verdicts,” Logan and Payne County District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas asked.
In 2001, Drug Task Force members of District 9 comprised of law enforcement officers from Stillwater Police Department, Guthrie Police Department and Logan and Payne County Sheriff’s Offices executed a search warrant at Cloyd’s residence in rural Payne County to seize items being used to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.
After loading two handguns and watching the officers approach on a closed circuit television from her bedroom, Cloyd fired upon Guthrie Police Department officer Mark Bruning from her bed as officers entered the home, missing Bruning’s head by a few inches.
Bruning returned fire, hitting Cloyd in the legs and torso. Cloyd was transported to Stillwater Medical Center where she was treated for non-fatal gunshot wounds.
Witnesses testified at trial that Cloyd later asked, “how many of them did I get?”
Cloyd’s 11-year-old daughter was in the home when she opened fire on law enforcement officers and while methamphetamine was being manufactured and distributed. Task Force officers found two handguns that were loaded near a pile of ammunition, methamphetamine and manufacturing equipment and hand grenades in the residence.
“It is sad to see the hard work of police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, trial judges and appellate judges rendered meaningless by the vote of unelected political appointees who are constantly upending jury verdicts to suit their own political viewpoints,” Thomas said.
She continued, “This defendant has consistently denied responsibility and outright lied in her version of the events. So, the result is that criminal acts and a lack of truthfulness and candor are rewarded, all while a police officer was nearly killed.”