• Multicounty grand jury seeks ouster of Rogers County commissioner

    BY RHETT MORGAN, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

    The state's multicounty grand jury on Thursday returned an accusation for removal against Rogers County Commissioner Mike Helm, further requesting that the district court order his immediate suspension, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced. The 15th multicounty grand jury also on Thursday issued two indictments against Helm, charging one count of embezzlement exceeding $1,000 and one count of embezzlement exceeding $500 for allegedly selling a county pickup truck and never turning over the proceeds of that sale to Rogers County, as required by law. For the indictment returned Thursday, Helm faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000 for the embezzlement count exceeding $1,000, and up to one year in prison and a fine up to $5,000 for the embezzlement count exceeding $500.

  • Game warden won't be charged in April Adair County shooting

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

    BUNCH — An Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation game warden who fatally shot an Arkansas man in Adair County following an altercation in April will not face criminal charges, the Adair County District Attorney's Office said Thursday. Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp said game warden Jared Cramer was ruled to be justified in his actions when he fatally shot Billy Joe Patrick in the area of Bunch on the morning of April 26. Patrick, 29, was accused of attacking Cramer around 11:10 a.m. that day after Cramer approached Patrick and two other people while they were fishing. Cramer asked to see the group's fishing licenses and discovered Patrick had a warrant from Arkansas for violating the terms of his parole, according to a release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation at the time.

  • Gym teacher charged with sexual battery bound for district court arraignment

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

    After hearing testimony from the victim and a witness, a Tulsa County judge found that there was probable cause to bind a Booker T. Washington High School teacher over for district court arraignment on a sexual battery charge. Wade Weller, 50, appeared in Tulsa County District Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing, where two students testified on the allegations. A female Booker T. Washington High School student testified that Weller hugged her from behind and grabbed her buttocks in the school’s gym on April 17 while other students were present. The student said she was 17 at the time.

  • Woman tries to stop suspected thief by jumping into his vehicle, Tulsa police say

    BY KYLE HINCHEY, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

    A "concerned citizen" who jumped into a vehicle in an attempt to stop a man who reportedly stole $579 in merchandise from a Lowe's Home Improvement store was pushed out by the driver, according to police. Shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday, a father and his daughter witnessed a man stealing merchandise from Lowe's near 71st Street and Garnett Road and tried to confront him in the parking lot, police said. The suspected thief got into his vehicle, and the father approached the driver's side door, Officer Leland Ashley said. The daughter then entered the vehicle and tossed the stolen merchandise out, Ashley said.

  • Sapulpa police chief sends scathing letter to Tulsa sheriff

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

    A name gaffe in a condolence letter from Sheriff Stanley Glanz to the Sapulpa Police Department after an officer’s recent death elicited a scathing written response from the police chief. The chief also took issue at telephone comments he said were made by a Tulsa County sheriff’s major who reportedly refused to have the Sheriff’s Office handle the investigation at a homicide scene in Sapulpa while all Sapulpa police officers were at the officer’s burial. In his letter, Glanz misidentified the fallen Sapulpa officer, instead using the name of one of the suspects arrested in connection with the lieutenant’s slaying.

  • Man arrested in Sapulpa on child porn complaints

    BY STEVEN JAMES, Sand Springs Leader | Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    A 30-year-old man with Sand Springs ties was arrested Wednesday in Sapulpa for possession of child pornography and making lewd proposals online to a person he thought was a 10-year-old girl. Justin DeTar, whose Google+ page indicates he attended Charles Page High School, had been under investigation since Monday, when the girl's uncle arranged the meeting at a restaurant in Sapulpa, according to an affidavit. The girl's aunt and uncle had borrowed their 11-year-old niece's cell phone and received a Facebook message from DeTar late Sunday. The uncle, Jarrod Ketcher, started a conversation with DeTar while posing as his niece "to get him caught," the affidavit states.

  • Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Oklahoma's first elective state officer killed in office

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    Labor Commissioner Mark Costello is Oklahoma’s 14th elective state officer to die in office, but the first to be killed. Violent attacks on American public officials in general are relatively rare. Costello’s case is particularly unusual in that it involved a close family member and was unrelated to his position in government. Only one state governor — Kentucky’s William Goebel — has been killed in office. Goebel was shot from a distance outside the Kentucky statehouse one day before his inauguration in January 1900. Goebel was sworn in the next day and died four days later. A man convicted of the assassination was pardoned in 1908.

  • Mother's boyfriend charged with murder in Owasso infant's death arrested (OWR)

    BY STACY RYBURN, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    OWASSO — A man sought by police in the July death of an Owasso infant whose first birthday would have been Thursday, has been arrested. Brandon Wade Nordstedt, 22, was arrested late Thursday in Hutchinson, Kansas on child abuse murder, or first-degree murder by statute, in the  July 12 death  of 10-month-old Emmerson “Emmy” O’Rourke . On July 12, Owasso police were called to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa after the infant was admitted with an apparent brain injury.

  • Donald Trump's continued popularity baffles Sen. Jim Inhofe

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says he's the wrong guy to ask about the continued popularity of billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump. "I thought it would last about three days and be over," Inhofe said Wednesday. "People are really wanting something different," Inhofe said during a visit to the Tulsa World. "A group of them likes the things he's saying — and he'll say anything."

  • Police seize 22 pounds of meth at Tulsa traffic stop

    BY STACY RYBURN, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    Police seized 22 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop Tuesday near Interstate 44 and South Yale Avenue. Felipe Angel Sanchez, 35, and Veridzanna Carranco-Hernandez, 32, were arrested on complaints of trafficking methamphetamine and are being held at the Tulsa Jail with no bond, jail records indicate. Sanchez also was cited for speeding and having no driver's license. Carranco-Hernandez also was booked on a complaint of possession of a controlled substance. Both have holds placed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to jail records.

  • More search warrant affidavits filed in Bever family homicides

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    More documents filed in Tulsa County District Court on Monday indicate authorities are continuing to search and process evidence in the July stabbing deaths of five members of a Broken Arrow family. In addition to seizing computers, an external hard drive and a USB thumb drive from the Broken Arrow home where Robert Bever, 18, and his 16-year-old brother Michael are accused of killing their parents and three of their siblings on July 22, police have also recovered two iPhones as well as a Samsung Galaxy II and an LG G3 smartphone. Police also took a Western Digital internal hard drive from the residence, records show.

  • Attorneys for former OHP trooper charged in sexual assaults against female motorists wants charges tossed

    BY RHETT MORGAN, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    SAPULPA — An attorney for a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper accused of sexual assaults and other inappropriate behavior toward three female motorists last year contends the rapes alleged aren't crimes because they were a "consensual encounter." Attorneys Gary James and Carla Stinnett, who represent ex-Trooper Eric William Roberts, filed motions Tuesday in Creek County District Court to dismiss nine of the 12 charges against Roberts, who turns 43 on Wednesday. A hearing on that matter has been tentatively scheduled Sept. 17 for Roberts, whose counts include second-degree rape, rape by instrumentation, sexual battery, forcible sodomy and procuring indecent exposure. A preliminary hearing on a Roberts' case involving another woman and three other related charges is set for Oct. 5.

  • Suspect in kidnapping-murder of Talala man brought to Tulsa Jail from Texas

    BY PAIGHTEN HARKINS, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 24, 2015

    One of the suspects in the murder of a Talala man has been booked into the Tulsa Jail after being taken into custody in Longview, Texas. Sidney Aaron Randall, 19, was jailed at 4:26 p.m. Monday. Randall, along with William Earl Garrett II, 26, and Vernon Lee-Mountel Smith, 27, is charged with first-degree murder in Chazz Holly’s death.

  • Arrest made in west Bartlesville double shooting

    BY PAIGHTEN HARKINS, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 24, 2015

    A 23-year-old Bartlesville man was arrested in connection with a west Bartlesville double shooting that took place early Sunday morning. Dustin Lee Giddens was booked into jail on two complaints of shooting with intent to kill after officers responded to a shooting call in the 1600 block of SW Middlepath Road at around 3:05 a.m., Bartlesville Police Department Cpt. Jay Hastings said in a news release. Police found two male victims at the scene, ages 27 and 29. One victim was reported to be talking, and the other victim was rushed into surgery following the shooting, according to the news release.

  • Former high school football standout, OSU signee, wanted on arrest warrant tied to armed robbery

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 24, 2015

    BROKEN ARROW — Felony cases against a former star football player at Broken Arrow High School are stacking up. Devon Thomas, 20, is wanted on an arrest warrant connected to an armed robbery a month ago, according to court records. Thomas is charged in Tulsa County District Court with robbery with a firearm and possession of a firearm after juvenile adjudication. The latest charges were filed Friday. Online court minutes indicate the crimes took place July 22.

  • Oklahoma teacher shortage: 600 positions eliminated, 1,000 vacancies remain

    BY ANDREA EGER, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 24, 2015

    The latest survey of school districts by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association found that 1,000 teaching vacancies remain even after 600 teaching jobs were eliminated since last school year. Student enrollment is growing, and to grapple with the teacher shortage, school districts are seeking record numbers of emergency teaching certificates to allow applicants who haven’t completed basic higher education and training requirements to enter the classroom right away. Since July, the state has received 664 such requests for emergency teaching certificates — already exceeding the 506 it received in all of 2014-15.

  • New medical marijuana petition filed for Oklahoma vote

    BY BARBARA HOBEROCK, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Aug 21, 2015

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana filed papers with the state Friday indicating their intent to circulate another initiative petition to get the issue on the ballot. Supporters need 123,725 signatures for the question to be seen by voters. They will have 90 days after a final determination following a protest period to get the signatures. Supporters hope to get the question on the November 2016 general election ballot.

  • Broken Arrow homicides: Video cameras found near spot bodies were found, detectives say

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Aug 21, 2015

    The slayings of a Broken Arrow couple and three of their children inside their home last month may have been recorded on video, according to documents filed in Tulsa County District Court late Thursday. Search warrant affidavits and return documents indicate that detectives recovered a computer thumb drive, multiple computers, an external hard drive and surveillance cameras from the home where Robert Bever, 18, and his 16-year-old brother, Michael Bever, are accused of fatally stabbing their parents and three of their siblings late July 22. Detectives reported noticing video surveillance cameras inside the home were “in close proximity” to where three of the bodies were found and said it appeared that the cameras were connected to at least one of the seized computers. The affidavits did not say whether those cameras were activated or whether they captured images of the brothers planning or carrying out the attack.

  • Tulsa man with history of domestic abuse found guilty of murdering girlfriend

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Aug 20, 2015

    Brian Harris’ mother was at work when he called her, saying a fight with his girlfriend had escalated into physical violence and that he thought she might be dead. His mother told him to call 911 and then called the number herself as she sped to his apartment. Two years later, Harris’ mother testified in Tulsa County District Court with her son sitting before her, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ashley Brizendine, who died from strangulation on July 12, 2013. After deliberating for about 2½ hours on Thursday, jurors found 25-year-old Harris guilty and recommended a life sentence with the possibility of parole after serving at least 85 percent, or 38 years, of his term.

  • Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in alcohol-related crash that killed OU student

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Aug 20, 2015

    A woman charged with manslaughter in a car crash that killed a University of Oklahoma student from Tulsa was taken back to jail after entering a guilty plea Thursday in Tulsa County District Court. Myiasha Brown, 29, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and causing a multivehicle crash that killed 20-year-old Taylor Witcher and injured two others on July 27, 2014, near the 71st Street bridge over the Arkansas River. Brown, who had been out on bond since February, will be held at the Tulsa Jail until a presentencing investigation is completed and District Judge William Musseman holds a finding and sentencing hearing Sept. 30.