• Former state Board of Education member gets support from ex-Barresi spokesman, Fallin's chief of staff

    BY ANDREA EGER, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Apr 17, 2015

    A newly departed state Board of Education member under scrutiny for vowing to “uniformly vote down every issue” put forth by State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is receiving some social media encouragement from former State Superintendent Janet Barresi's spokesman and Gov. Mary Fallin's chief of staff. Damon Gardenhire, a staffer on Barresi's 2010 campaign who went on to serve as her spokesman and policy director in the Oklahoma State Department of Education, posted on Amy Ford's Facebook page “Illegitimum non carborundum.” The phrase loosely translates in Latin to “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Ford replied, "Never!!" And Denise Northrup, Fallin's current chief of staff, replied, "Well said Damon Gardenhire!" Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Life sentence recommended for Hank Laird in mother's murder

    BY AMANDA BLAND, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Apr 17, 2015

    A jury recommended a life sentence with the possibility of parole Friday afternoon for Henry "Hank" Laird, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the beating death of his mother. Linda Laird, 56, suffered fatal injuries as she was assaulted with both ends of a shotgun between Jan. 21 and 22, 2013. The same jury deliberated two hours before finding Hank Laird guilty Thursday and one hour during the sentencing phase Friday. Prosecutors asked for the stricter of their two options, life without the possibility of parole, for the victim's murder, which Assistant District Attorney Julie Doss called "so brutal, so heinous and so awful." Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Muskogee police searching for other victims in possible serial child sexual abuse case

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    MUSKOGEE — Muskogee police announced Wednesday that investigators are in search of anyone else who may have been victimized by a man and woman who were arrested on child sexual abuse charges last month. William “Frankie” Dugan, 29, and Valerie Ojo, 32, were arrested and charged March 25 with five counts of child sexual abuse each, with police alleging they committed forcible sodomy, incest and exploitation against two children, ages 5 and 6. Court documents allege the abuse occurred between Jan. 17 and March 21, and that Dugan and Ojo performed sex acts on the children, as well as forced them to commit sex acts on each other while they photographed them. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Bombing scholarships helped dozens of survivors achieve their dreams

    BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    Like a lot of teenagers, Christy Williams wasn’t sure what she was going to do with her life. But when someone asked her that day in 1999, she didn’t want to appear uncertain. So she said that she wanted to be a pharmacist. As seniors at Oklahoma City’s Northeast Academy for Health and Engineering, Williams and other students had toured the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s programs, including its pharmacy college. At the time, she thought being a pharmacist seemed like a pretty good job, one that would allow her to balance a career and family some day. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Help wanted: Oklahoma schools struggling to meet state requirements for test monitors

    BY ANDREA EGER, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    State-mandated testing requires test monitors to keep the process honest. But it’s a hard sell to parents and other would-be volunteers. With testing already underway, public schools all over the area are under pressure to find enough monitors fast. “Parents want to be supportive of teachers and what you’re asking is ‘Would you come over and watch our teachers and make sure they’re not cheating?’ They’re not supposed to read a book or do anything but watch a teacher give a test,” said Eric Doss, director at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Tulsa man jailed on murder complaint in alcohol-related fatal north Tulsa crash

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    A 23-year-old Tulsa man was jailed on a murder complaint in connection with an alcohol-related collision that killed one and injured three others  at the intersection of Pine Street and Yale Avenue on Wednesday night, officials said. Narson Martin was booked into the Tulsa Jail about 12:38 a.m. Thursday on second-degree murder and driving under the influence complaints, jail records show. Tulsa Police Capt. Dave Roberts said the crash occurred around 7 p.m. after Martin's small four-door sedan ran a red light while traveling south on Yale Avenue and crashed into the driver’s side of a silver Acura car that was going east on Pine Street. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Throwback Tulsa: 'Sky lit up green' as Bixby tornado killed 5 in 1981

    BY DEBBIE JACKSON and HILARY PITTMAN, Tulsa World | Published: Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    The small congregation had just finished communion and was in the middle of the traditional Easter Sunday feet-washing ceremony when the electricity went off on April 19, 1981. On that day, a swarm of tornadoes struck Kiefer, Bixby, Tulsa and Broken Arrow, killing five people and injuring 57. Damaged totaled $75 million to $100 million, according to the National Weather Service, making it one of the costliest tornadoes in Tulsa history. Witnesses said the “sky lit up green. The tornado was like a pencil making an unbelievable screeching noise.” Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Sources: Supervisors told to falsify reserve deputy's training records; department announces internal review

    BY DYLAN GOFORTH, Tulsa World | Updated: Thu, Apr 16, 2015

    Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy's training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World. At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates' supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World. Bates, 73, is accused of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris during an undercover operation on April 2. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Witnesses describe murder suspect Hank Laird as hostile, violent towards mother at trial

    BY AMANDA BLAND, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Apr 15, 2015

    Witnesses in the murder trial of a teen accused of bludgeoning his mother to death with a shotgun described the woman’s fear of her son, previous threatening behavior and a statement about him avenging his father’s death as testimony started Wednesday. Defendant Henry “Hank” Laird, now 19, is charged with killing his mother, 56-year-old Linda Laird, inside their home on Jan. 22, 2013. Hank Laird sported a disheveled mop of hot pink hair in his subsequent booking photo, but his strawberry blonde locks have since been cut short. His gaze alternated between the defense table, floor and occasionally the attorneys or witnesses as they spoke. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Indie film crime drama shooting in Tulsa with stars including rocker Marilyn Manson

    BY MICHAEL SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Wed, Apr 15, 2015

    An independent film drama produced and directed by a former Tulsan has begun production in the Tulsa area, featuring a cast of Hollywood character actors, as well as rock musician Marilyn Manson. When Edison High School graduate John Swab screened a 32-minute short film last year at Circle Cinema, he described his gritty drama “Judas’ Chariot” as a “prequel of sorts to the feature film that we really want to make.” “Let Me Make You a Martyr” is that movie, a feature-length crime drama that recently began filming on a budget of about $200,000, said Abby Kurin, the director of Film, Music, Arts & Culture for VisitTulsa. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Protest rally draws crowd, ends at Tulsa County sheriff's doorstep

    BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    More than 100 people turned out for a rally and march Tuesday night, demanding action against deputies who are seen and heard in a video showing the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a Tulsa County reserve deputy. The rally began with a few dozen people in the plaza in front of the Tulsa County Courthouse and quickly grew to more than 100. A group called "We the People Oklahoma" organized the rally to call for action by Sheriff Stanley Glanz following the shooting of Eric Harris by Robert Bates, a reserve deputy. Bates, also an insurance company owner, was Glanz's campaign manager. He has purchased and donated cars and equipment for the sheriff's Violent Crime Task Force, on which he served. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt defends Bible distribution in schools, says 'religious freedoms are under attack'

    BY ANDREA EGER, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has sent a letter to public school superintendents across the state vowing to defend religious freedom amid "veiled legal threats" over the distribution of Bibles on campus. "Few things are as sacred and as fundamental to Oklahomans as the constitutional rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion," Pruitt wrote Tuesday. "It is a challenging time in our country for those who believe in religious liberty. Our religious freedoms are under constant attack from a variety of groups who seek to undermine our constitutional rights and threaten our founding principles." Aaron Cooper, a spokesman, said Pruitt's office is trying to determine the extent of contact between the Freedom From Religion Foundation and similar groups and Oklahoma school districts. From that information, legal training on the topic of religious freedom will be developed for public school officials, he said. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • OKC bombing changed the way Oklahoma thinks about itself

    BY MICHAEL OVERALL, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    Living out of the Skirvin Hotel when he first came to town in 2008, Sam Presti wanted to get a sense of what the locals were like. So he walked across downtown to a Redhawks game. Not that he cared about baseball. Presti’s job was to launch an NBA franchise, which didn’t have a name yet. Or even a practice facility. Would Oklahoma embrace professional basketball? Could Sooners and Cowboys cheer for the same team? He watched fans at the game and mingled with the crowds in Bricktown, noticing how courteous people were to each other. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Rocklahoma daily lineup announced

    BY JERRY WOFFORD, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    Rocklahoma approaches, and festival organizers have released the daily lineup for the May 22-24 festival. Here's what to expect each day: Friday, May 22: Godsmack, Slayer, Papa Roach, In This Moment, Ministry, Apocolyptica, We Are Harlot, Nonpoint, Young Guns, Butcher Babies, Upon A Burning Body, Like A Storm, Wayland, Ivy Stone, Warlock Texas, ASKA, Dead Metal Society, Lynam, Ragdoll, Lola Black, Ruff Justice, Kingdragon, NICNOS, Vilifi, DREK, Kingshifter, Even the Dogs, Sovereign Dame, Kirra Read the rest of the schedule at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Sheriff's office confirms names of deputies in video, says they didn't hear gunshot

    BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER and DYLAN GOFORTH, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    A deputy who made a controversial statement to a man in a video that has gained national attention did not hear the gunshot, sheriff's officials told the Tulsa World. When asked by the World to confirm whether two names on a court witness list were the deputies depicted in the video, Undersheriff Tim Albin confirmed their names. The witness list is attached to a criminal charge filed Tuesday against Robert Bates, a reserve deputy who claimed he mistook his gun for a Taser when he shot Eric Harris, who was on the ground and unarmed. The deputy who made the statement — "f--- your breath" — to Harris after he had been shot is Joseph Byars. A deputy shown in the video kneeling on Harris' head is Michael Huckeby. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Three arrested as new video surveillance system foils thefts at Tulsa gun show

    BY KELLY BOSTIAN, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    Three men were arrested Friday and Saturday during the Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show with the help of a new video surveillance system in the River Spirit Expo building, and the accused are longtime trusted gun dealers. “The surprising thing, all three of these were dealers, they had (vendor) badges, and they had been coming to our show for several years,” said show founder Joe Wanenmacher. “These were not young guys, either. I’ll just say they were old enough to know better. This is wild!” Arrested were show vendors Kenneth Lee Reynolds, 74, of Ottumwa, Iowa; George Reginald Adams, 78, of Wichita Falls, Texas; and Richard Eugene Futch, 68, of Seymore, Texas. Read the rest of this story TulsaWorld.com.

  • WATCH: Officer-involved shooting 'tragic incident,' say Sand Springs police

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    SAND SPRINGS — An officer who shot and killed a man with a history of mental illness on Saturday followed proper procedure in what the assistant police chief said was a "tragic incident," the city's Deputy Police Chief said Monday. "There are no winners here," Mike Carter said during a Monday news conference. "This is a tragedy." Carter said Sand Springs officer Brian Barnett, 25, killed Donald W. Allen, 66, after Allen made threatening statements while approaching Barnett with a loaded .22-caliber pistol. Allen, according to a phone call his wife had with police, had a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis, and Carter said he had been detained for mental health reasons in the past. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • World War II veterans remember: Oklahoma man hunted Nazis with Counterintelligence Corps

    BY TIM STANLEY, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Apr 13, 2015

    “Can you handle a Thompson (submachine gun)?” The question, whispered under cover of darkness, was simple and direct. And Newell West didn’t hesitate: Yes, he whispered back. He could. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Reserve deputy bought cars, equipment for undercover unit

    BY ZIVA BRANSTETTER, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Apr 13, 2015

    A Tulsa County reserve deputy who has been charged in a fatal shooting bought at least four automobiles and surveillance equipment for the undercover unit to which he was assigned, records show. The incident was also not the first time Robert Bates has been involved in a use of force during an arrest while serving as a reserve deputy. Undersheriff Tim Albin told the Tulsa World Bates used a Taser on a person during an arrest in the past but no policy violation occurred. Bates owns an insurance company and served as chairman of the Re-elect Sheriff (Stanley) Glanz Committee in 2012. Records show he donated $2,500 to Glanz’s campaign that year. Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Distracted driving among teens far worse than thought, new study shows

    BY MICHAEL SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Apr 13, 2015

    Teens have the highest rate of crashes among any group of drivers, and a new study shows that some form of distraction — with cellphone usage a major culprit — is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 teen crashes. That 58 percent figure announced by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is more than four times the 14 percent figure that officials with the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration had gleaned from police reports. “Obviously we want this to be the year that our legislators really make a difference,” said Danial Karnes, AAA Oklahoma spokesman in Tulsa. “There are 45 states that ban texting and driving, and we need Oklahoma to be the 46th state, because this is becoming an epidemic.” Read the rest of this story at TulsaWorld.com.