• Tulsa man pleads guilty to murder for setting house fire that killed 5-year-old

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Sep 1, 2015

    A man accused of igniting a house fire that caused a 5-year-old’s death from smoke inhalation pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday. Tulsa County District Judge William LaFortune dismissed the potential jurors who were set to hear the trial of Steven Lewis Clement, 36, after the defendant entered a blind guilty plea to one count of first-degree murder while in the commission of the felony crime of arson and one count of endangering human life during arson. Jury selection had not been completed when Clement entered the plea.

  • Police find hatchet, protective gear in house where Bever family members were slain

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Sep 1, 2015

    Newly released search warrants reveal police recovered multiple weapons and various items of protective gear from the house where five Broken Arrow family members were fatally stabbed in July. In the warrant filed Monday in Tulsa County District Court, detectives indicated a hatchet, knife, darts and a surgical knife blade were found inside the home where Robert Bever, 18, and his 16-year-old brother Michael reportedly killed their parents and three of their siblings late July 22. The warrant also states detectives seized Kevlar knit sleeves, a balaclava hood, a neck protector, a black mask and shin guards. Additionally, officers recovered wallets, packages, a black case, gloves, a digital storage card, documents, a purse, credit cards, a book of maps and wireless cameras, according to the document.

  • Pop culture: Mike Tyson added to Wizard World Tulsa guest list

    BY JIMMIE TRAMEL, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Sep 1, 2015

    A new guest will add punch to the celebrity lineup for a Wizard World Tulsa pop culture convention, scheduled Oct. 23-25 at Cox Business Center. Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has committed to multiple Wizard World tour stops, including Tulsa. Tyson is scheduled to appear only on Saturday, Oct. 24 in Tulsa. Admission tickets – including Mike Tyson VIP experience tickets – are available at  wizardworld.com . Tyson joins a guest list which has celebrities from all across the pop culture spectrum, including wrestling star The Undertaker, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil and “The Walking Dead” actors Norman Reedus, Alexandra Breckenridge and Sonequa Martin-Green.

  • Critical figure in leaked Robert Bates probe from 2009 appears before grand jury

    BY COREY JONES, Tulsa World | Published: Tue, Sep 1, 2015

    A murder defendant turned material witness testified Tuesday morning for grand jurors investigating the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. Warren Crittenden is a critical figure in a 2009 internal probe into former Tulsa County Reserve Deputy Robert Bates. Crittenden, a corporal in internal affairs at the time, told an investigator he felt pressured to sign off on memorandums he didn’t write. The memos stated Bates was capable of performing the functions of a patrol deputy and should be granted advanced reserve status based on the “outstanding ability” he had shown in the field.

  • Radioactive chemical spill occurred last fall at University of Tulsa, officials announce

    BY PAIGHTEN HARKINS, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    Authorities are working to clean up a year-old radioactive chemical spill on the University of Tulsa’s north research campus that was just brought to university officials’ attention last week. Tracerco, a company contracted through TU, spilled a small amount of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 in the Process Building on TU’s North Campus in the fall 2014 semester, but university officials just learned of the spill Aug. 25, university spokeswoman Mona Chamberlin said. After university officials learned of the spill, they restricted access to the building and notified the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, which has since been investigating. University officials sent a campus-wide email about the spill on Monday.

  • Rep. Jim Bridenstine recognized for leadership on space issues

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    In the 1st District, U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine is known for his iconoclastic conservatism and willingness to challenge the status quo. In Washington, he is known as one of the few people paying much attention to the nation’s space satellite programs. It’s a technical subject, unglamorous and unlikely to make headlines in anything except a few wonky niche publications. As Bridenstine says, “This is the kind of stuff that won’t get you elected and folks back home don’t care about.”

  • Susan Sarandon calls upcoming Glossip execution 'a horrible thing' on 'Dr. Phil'

    BY SAMANTHA VICENT, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    Sixteen days ahead of Richard Glossip's scheduled execution, another celebrity has joined actress Susan Sarandon and anti-death-penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean to discuss whether Glossip — a death-row inmate for nearly two decades — should get a new look at his case. Sarandon and Prejean were featured on Dr. Phil McGraw's Monday afternoon show called "Dead Man Walking," a reference to the film in which Sarandon portrayed Prejean's efforts to fight an inmate's capital punishment sentence. The one-hour broadcast was previously recorded, but the three discussed the facts surrounding Glossip's case. "I do feel passionately that you're about to do a horrible thing," Sarandon said, referencing Gov. Mary Fallin. "There is so much information that has come forward that was never presented at any of Richard's trials. ... We're just asking for (a 60-day stay) to show this information so you're not responsible for doing a horrible thing."

  • Barricaded man who threatened Claremore police officers sentenced to 20 years in prison

    BY RHETT MORGAN, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    CLAREMORE — A man who threatened ignite a residence filling with natural gas has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for threatening four Claremore Police Department officers. Christopher Nigel Coats, 37, of Claremore, pleaded guilty Thursday to four counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, one count of knowingly concealing stolen property and possession of a stolen vehicle. He was sentenced to 20 years each on the assault and battery counts and 10 years apiece on the other two charges, all terms of which will run concurrently. In October 2014, police were pursuing Coats for possession of a stolen vehicle when he barricaded himself in his home and opened a natural gas line. As four police officers entered the residence, Coats held up a cigarette lighter and said, "It's gas."

  • What the media, public didn't see when Katrina victims arrived in Oklahoma

    BY MICHAEL OVERALL, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    Rushing to Muskogee that afternoon — after a frantic phone call from an editor who didn’t seem to care about the laws of physics, much less the laws of the road, as far as how long it would realistically take to get there — I didn’t think I was going to make it in time. The buses from New Orleans were reportedly getting close, if they hadn’t already arrived, and the evacuees would soon be unloaded, checked-in and resting comfortably in their new dormitories. Or so I thought. Instead, I got to stand around for several hours chatting with Red Cross volunteers, all of us getting wet, then dry, then wet again from scattered rain showers. The weather cleared long enough to give us a spectacular sunset, and after dark we listened to cicadas sing to each other across the grassy fields of Camp Gruber, a National Guard base where the federal government was sending 1,500 people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. Officials would periodically give the press an update on the whereabouts of those buses — telling us they were 15 minutes away, or an hour, or 45 minutes, or just now crossing the Red River, or passing through Dallas. But in fact, nobody had the slightest idea where the buses were, until suddenly, well after dark on the first Saturday of September 2005, they finally pulled through the gate.

  • WPX Energy announces $185 million asset sale

    BY CASEY SMITH, Tulsa World | Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    Tulsa-based domestic energy producer WPX Energy will execute an $185 million asset sale, the proceeds of which will be used to start paying down debt from its recent purchase of RKI Exploration & Production LLC. WPX Energy announced Monday that it has agreed to sell a North Dakota gathering system for approximately $185 million to a private equity fund managed by the Ares EIF Group, a subsidiary of Ares Management LP.  The parties expect to close the transaction in approximately 60 days. The sale is part of WPX’s deleveraging plan targeting $400 million-$500 million in divestitures by the end of 2015. WPX is also targeting a similar sale in 2016.

  • Lankford: Changing Washington 'takes strong families, strong churches and strong communities'

    BY RANDY KREHBIEL, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    The federal government is largely a reflection of the nation as a whole, U.S. Sen. James Lankford said Friday while making the rounds of chambers of commerce in Bixby, Broken Arrow and Jenks. "When you look at D.C., that's really what we've become as a nation," Lankford said in Broken Arrow. "Changing it takes strong families, strong churches and strong communities." Lankford said he often leaves audiences with that message.

  • Trial delayed for former sheriff's deputy charged with sexual battery

    BY ARIANNA PICKARD, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    The trial for a former Tulsa County Sheriff's deputy accused of sex crimes involving two women he encountered while on duty has been delayed due to a request from his attorney. The trial for Gerald Nuckolls, 27, was scheduled to begin Monday, but District Judge William LaFortune granted the request Friday and rescheduled the trial for Oct. 12, Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Elmore confirmed. In his request filed Monday in Tulsa County District Court, Nuckolls' attorney Terry Funk stated the main reason for the delay is "an unprecedented chain of medical events" involving members of Funk’s family.

  • County Commissioner booked on new charges; discussion on ouster set for Monday

    BY RHETT MORGAN, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    CLAREMORE — A Rogers County commissioner whose ouster was recommended by the state's multicounty grand jury was arrested Friday on a pair of new charges. Michael Earl Helm, 54, of Collinsville was booked on two counts of embezzlement and appeared before Rogers County District Judge J. Dwayne Steidley. He posted $5,000 bail Friday afternoon and was released. Citing reasons such as willful neglect of duty and corruption, the state’s multicounty grand jury on Thursday called for the Helm's removal from office and requested that a district court order his immediate suspension, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced. The Rogers County Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to discuss the grand jury's actions Monday at its regular meeting.

  • Woman shot in head, found dead in car in Tulsa

    BY KYLE HINCHEY, Tulsa World | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    Tulsa Police are investigating a homicide after a woman was found shot in the head inside a red Camaro early Friday. Police responded to a call at 3:20 a.m. at Fourth Street and Memorial Drive. An intoxicated woman saw the vehicle and body in the driver's seat before calling 911, Sgt. Dave Walker said.  The victim had been driving the car and was making a left turn onto Fourth Street when someone outside the vehicle shot her in the head, Walker said. He said investigators believe the shot most likely came from the driver's side of the car.

  • 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.