• With Kevin Sweat to be sentenced Friday, TV reporter shares insight into conversations with convicted killer

    By CARY ASPINWALL - Tulsa World | Yesterday

    During the three years it has taken to prosecute Kevin Sweat in Okfuskee County, the convicted killer hasn't said much in the courtroom. Set to be sentenced to prison Friday for three counts of first-degree murder, Sweat stood mute before the court in at least one hearing, and on other occasions he nodded quietly or uttered a few words to the judge when prompted. In the past year, however, Sweat has gotten decidedly chatty with an Oklahoma City television news reporter whom he frequently phones from jail. Read the full story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • DOC files another motion to dismiss First Amendment suit challenging execution access

    By CARY ASPINWALL - Tulsa World | Yesterday

    Oklahoma corrections officials have reduced the number of media witnesses allowed at executions and imposed greater restrictions on reporters’ access, but they argued in federal court filings this week that they are not seeking “to exclude media from executions.” Attorneys for the state of Oklahoma filed another motion this week to dismiss a federal lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that seeks to block the state from further restricting reporters’ First Amendment right to witness executions. The state’s motion argues that “the First Amendment does not grant the public a right to view executions” and that “the fact that individuals are allowed to attend executions does not make it open to the

  • Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder of friend

    By AMANDA BLAND - Tulsa | Yesterday

    A Tulsa judge sentenced a man to 20 years in prison on Monday in the shooting death of his friend on the victim’s 26th birthday. Judah Orlando Cumminsky, 23, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, amended from first-degree murder, before District Judge Mark Barcus. Prosecutors said he fatally shot Isaac A. Wogu on March 17. Homicide investigators told the Tulsa World that Wogu was shot during an altercation at Cumminsky’s home in the 3800 block of East Xyler Street in a disagreement over the loot from a burglary Wogu, Cumminsky and others were alleged to have committed. Read the full story at TulsaWorld.com.

  • Oklahoma State researcher awarded $3M grant

    BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: Thu, Oct 23, 2014

    STILLWATER — The National Institutes of Health has awarded an Oklahoma State University professor a $3 million grant to conduct research that might offer parents more help soon after they learn their child has cancer. Larry L. Mullins, the Vaughn O. Vennerberg II Endowed Professor of Psychology and director of clinical training at OSU, was awarded the grant by the facility. The research will focus on the development of a psychosocial intervention for parents of children who are newly diagnosed with cancer, using both psychologists and nurses. The project includes Cincinnati Children’s Medical Hospital Center and the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, as well as OSU.

  • Massive cheating scandal at UNC involved athletes


    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Bogus classes and automatic A's and B's are at the heart of a cheating scandal at the University of North Carolina that lasted nearly two decades, encompassing about 3,100 students — nearly half of them athletes. At least nine university employees were fired or under disciplinary review, and the question now becomes what, if anything, the NCAA will do next. Penalties could range from fewer scholarships to vacated wins. Most of the athletes were football players or members of the school's cherished basketball program, which won three of its five national titles during the scandal (1993, 2005, 2009). Many at the university hoped Wainstein's eight-month investigation would bring some closure.

  • Senate Democrats return to Ky. race with TV ads

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats' official campaign arm and one of its largest outside allies on Wednesday reversed course in the Kentucky race and put campaign cash behind television ads for Alison Lundergan Grimes and her bid to oust Republican Mitch McConnell. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last week stopped paying for television ads in Kentucky. McConnell's campaign said it was a sign that Grimes was faltering. The Democratic-backing Senate Majority PAC also quietly dropped off Kentucky airwaves last week. A Democratic committee official said Wednesday that new internal polling shows that undecided voters are breaking Grimes' way.

  • US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    ATLANTA (AP) — All travelers who come into the U.S. from three Ebola-stricken West African nations will now be monitored for three weeks, the latest step by federal officials to keep the disease from spreading into the country. Starting Monday, anyone traveling from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will have to report in with health officials daily and take their temperature twice a day. The measure applies not only to visitors from those countries but also returning American aid workers, federal health employees and journalists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the new step Wednesday. CDC Director Tom Frieden said monitoring will provide an extra level of safety.

  • Teens' travel renews concerns about terror appeal

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    DENVER (AP) — Three teenage girls being investigated for trying to join Islamic State forces in Syria were victims of an "online predator" who encouraged them, a school official said Wednesday, as U.S. officials tried to determine how they made it to Europe without anyone knowing and whether terrorists' appeal is deepening among vulnerable youth. The Denver-area girls — two sisters ages 17 and 15, and their 16-year-old friend — were detained at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, and sent home over the weekend. They were interviewed by the FBI and returned to their parents in suburban Aurora. Those in the tight-knit east African community where they live said the sisters are of Somali descent and their friend is of Sudanese de

  • Wildlife rehab for bear found in Oregon drugstore

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) — A black bear cub found wandering the aisles of an Oregon drugstore will be raised with the goal of releasing him into the wild next year. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Wednesday the bear has been taken to the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynwood, Washington, for rehabilitation. Director Jennifer Convy says rehabilitation staff care for bears with hands-off methods designed to mimic conditions in the wild, and they maintain an animal's fear of people. Police scooped the cub into a shopping basket Sunday at the Rite-Aid store in Ashland while shoppers took video on their smartphones. The department says they hope to release the bear somewhere in southern Oregon next spring.

  • Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is snuffing out smoking in its offices and buildings. The nation's second-biggest tobacco company informed employees Wednesday that beginning next year, the use of traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes will no longer be permitted at employee desks or offices, conference rooms, hallways and elevators. Lighting up already is prohibited on factory floors and in cafeterias and fitness centers. The no-smoking policy will go into effect once Reynolds builds indoor smoking areas for those still wanting to light up indoors, spokesman David Howard said.

  • Canadian official IDs Ottawa gunman

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    TORONTO (AP) — A Canadian official has identified the dead Ottawa gunman as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Authorities and witnesses say a man with a scarf over his face shot and killed a Canadian soldier standing guard at the nation's war memorial on Wednesday, then headed into Parliament, where he was fatally shot by the sergeant-at-arms. Two other people were wounded and in stable conditions, hospital officials said. Wednesday's shooting came two days after a deadly hit-and-run against two Canadian soldiers by a man who police say was fired up with radical Muslim fervor. One of the soldiers was killed.

  • University defends response to threat to speaker

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Facing faculty concerns about guns on the campus of Utah State University, the school's president is responding to accusations that the institution acted irresponsibly after a threat against feminist speaker Anita Sarkeesian. President Stan Albrecht said USU immediately started working with police and communicating with Sarkeesian's staff after receiving the email threatening a mass shooting. In a letter to faculty and students, Albrecht said USU had to follow a state law prohibiting universities from taking away concealed weapons from valid permit holders, but he expressed concern about a new push from state lawmakers to allow open carrying of weapons on campus.

  • Blackwater guards found guilty in Iraq shootings

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Four former Blackwater security guards were convicted Wednesday in the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad, an incident that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe and was denounced by critics as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong. The men claimed self-defense, but federal prosecutors argued that they had shown "a grave indifference" to the carnage their actions would cause. All four were ordered immediately to jail. Their lawyers are likely to file appeals; one said quickly that he would. If those and other motions should fail, the judge would then set a sentencing date. The federal jury found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder, the most serious charge i

  • North Korean detainee reunites with family in Ohio

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (AP) — An American arrested and held for nearly six months in North Korea for leaving a Bible at a nightclub returned home to Ohio on Wednesday to tears of joy and hugs from his wife and surprised children. A plane carrying Jeffrey Fowle, who was released with help from a retired diplomat and former Ohio congressman, landed Wednesday morning at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, where he was reunited with his family. Moments after Fowle stepped off the plane, his three children and wife ran from a nearby airplane hangar and shared hugs. Base Col. John Devillier said Fowle had a tearful reunion, and that Fowle seemed thrilled. "We had a great reunion for an American citizen coming

  • Social Security benefits get another tiny increase

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Come January, nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will get benefit increases averaging $20 a month, the third straight year of historically small pay hikes. The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, will also boost government benefits for millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees and people drawing disability payments for the poor. Year after year of tiny increases are weighing on many older Americans. "What is it going to cover? Not even the cost of one medicine," said Louis Grosso, a 66-year-old retired doctor who lives in Philadelphia. "Do you know how much my cholesterol medicine is?" The government announced the benefit increase Wednesday when it released the lates

  • Doctors differ on preteen suspect's mental state

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Doctors disagree over whether the second of two 12-year-old girls charged with stabbing a classmate to please the fictional horror character Slender Man is fit to stand trial, a judge and attorneys said Wednesday. A state psychiatrist filed a report saying he found the girl mentally capable of helping with her defense, but defense attorney Joseph Smith Jr. questioned the state doctor's qualifications and said he had a report from another doctor who disagreed. Both reports are sealed, and Smith didn't offer any details except to question whether Dr. Robert Rawski had the expertise to evaluate juveniles. "You may not be looking at the things that are most important.

  • Pistorius spends first night in single jail cell

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Oscar Pistorius spent his first night of a five-year jail term in a single cell in the hospital wing of a prison in the capital, Pretoria, said a prison official. He seemed confused and tired when he entered the Kgosi Mampuru facility, prison commissioner Zebilon Monama told the South African Press Association. Monama said Pistorius was tense as wardens took his fingerprints and the prison chaplain met with him soon after his prison number was issued on Tuesday. "After he saw the chaplain our psychologist went to see him just to try to talk to him," said Monama.

  • Snowplow driver says he didn't see Total CEO's jet

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    MOSCOW (AP) — The driver of the snowplow that apparently caused the plane carrying the Total CEO to crash at a Moscow airport says he neither saw nor heard the private jet as it sped toward him down the runway in the dark. The driver is the only person to have been detained in the deaths of Total SA Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie and three French crew members, who were killed when the Dassault Falcon 50 clipped the snowplow on takeoff late Monday and crashed, bursting into flames. But Russian investigators said Wednesday they now believe that much of the blame lies with the managers of Vnukovo airport, which is used by Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, and visiting official delegations.

  • Indiana man was violent long before 7 killings

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    GARY, Ind. (AP) — With hindsight, there were signs years ago of increasing violence against women by Darren Vann, who police say has confessed to killing seven women in northwestern Indiana and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. Indiana court records from 2004 describe him grabbing a woman in a chokehold, dousing her with gasoline and threatening to set her on fire. He was sentenced to a year in prison. In 2009, he was convicted in Texas of raping a woman. She told police that at his apartment in Austin, he knocked her down, began to strangle her, hit her several times in the face and said he could kill her, court records show. He was released from prison last year and moved back to Indiana.

  • Father of UK hostage dies after appeal to save son

    Updated: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — The father of a British photojournalist held by the Islamic State group has died just weeks after he appealed from his hospital bed for the militants to release his son. Paul Cantlie was recovering from throat surgery when he recorded a video he hoped would be seen by those holding his son, John, who he called an impartial journalist who wanted to tell the world about Syria. Cantlie, 80, said "I want John to know how very proud I am of him." The family says in a statement Wednesday that Paul Cantlie's strength had been waning since his son was taken hostage nearly two years ago. He died of pneumonia last week. The family says Paul Cantlie died not knowing whether his son's captors had received mess