Broken Arrow Mother Fights to Change Law She Believes Could Have Saved Son’s Life

Beverly Cantrell - December 13, 2021 6:37 am

A Broken Arrow mother is racing against the clock to change a law she believes could have saved her son’s life.

Court documents show 46-year-old Stephen Bernuis tried to get legal protection from the man accused of killing him two days before his death.

“I should have had Thanksgiving with him,” said Bernuis’ mother, Maureen Bucchere. “I should be having Christmas with him.”

Bucchere feels helpless.

In September, Broken Arrow Police said Bernius was evicting 21-year-old Cody William O’Bryan when O’Bryan pulled a gun and fired shots.

Documents show Bernuis filed a police report and a protective order against O’Bryan.

According to the Oklahoma State Court Network, a judge denied the protective order two days before Bernius’ death because it did not meet the statute.

Bucchere feels the system failed her.

BA mom seeks law change photo 3

“It seems to be a hole a hole in the law,” said attorney Robert Gifford. “It doesn’t really make sense.”

Gifford said the way the law is written in Oklahoma, protective orders only apply to intimate partners and family members who live together.

“If they are roommates rather than intimate partners, they do not qualify for a protective order,” he said.

“What will it take to change this law?” asked Ibarra.

“When something like this happens, you usually catch the attention of a legislator, and that they will take it up and make the law change,” said Gifford.

Catching a lawmaker’s attention is exactly what Bucchere hopes to do.

She’s reached out to State Rep. Dean Davis, Rep. San May, Rep. Ross Ford, Re. Nathan Dahm, and U.S. Representative Kevin Hearn.

So far, she said she’s only heard from Hern’s office.

“I want them to walk in my shoes,” she said. “I want them to feel the pain that I’m feeling and see how ridiculous and what a lack of common sense it took for whoever to write that law.”

At the time this article was written, nearly 2,500 people signed Bucchere’s petition.

She wants change.

“I absolutely want change,” she asserted. “I want you to be protected. I want me to be protected and I want my friends, my family. I want everybody out there to be protected. And that’s the only way they’re going to do it is by changing that law.”

Bucchere hopes a change in the law will prevent someone else from spending the holidays without their loved one as she will for the rest of her life.

The deadline for legislators to draft bills for the upcoming session is Friday.

 

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