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Year in review: The top stories and photos from The Oklahoman in 2013

Top Oklahoma stories include May storms, criminal trials and legislative action
FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: December 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: December 30, 2013

The top news stories in the state in 2013 included a trio of deadly May storms, high-profile criminal trials and several twists involving key legislation and the state Supreme Court. The Oklahoman covered these and many other news-making events. Following is a list and photos documenting some of the big stories of 2013.


• Former Oklahoma state Senate leader Mike Morgan is sentenced to probation after a federal jury finds him guilty of accepting bribes to influence legislation. Prosecutors later ask a judge to re-sentence Morgan and hand down a stiffer penalty.


• Gov. Mary Fallin gives her State of the State speech, highlighting her desire for a state income tax cut, an overhaul of the workers compensation system and plans to repair the state Capitol.

• A deadly blizzard socks western Oklahoma, stranding motorists and emergency responders and leading to the death of a man in Woodward who was killed when his house collapsed.


• Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater charges five members of the state Pardon and Parole Board with violating the state's Open Meeting Act, a misdemeanor charge. The five defendants are awaiting trial.

• Former McLoud schoolteacher Kimberly Crain is sentenced to 45 years in prison for committing sex crimes against children. Co-defendant Gary Doby, who was known by the nickname “Uncle G,” earlier was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the case.


• Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is injured during a playoff game against the Houston Rockets. Westbrook undergoes knee surgery and misses the rest of the playoffs. The Thunder defeats Houston but is eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round.

• Political newcomers James Greiner and John A. Pettis Jr. win Oklahoma City council elections to unseat incumbent council members. Greiner beats Gary Marrs in Ward 1 while Pettis defeats Ronald “Skip” Kelly in Ward 7.


• A deadly tornado strikes the Shawnee and Bethel Acres area on May 19, killing two.

• An EF5 tornado rips through central Oklahoma on May 20, leaving a path of destruction through Moore, Oklahoma City and Newcastle. The twister kills 25 and destroys 1,200 homes. It tears through two schools, killing seven students at Plaza Towers Elementary School.

• President Barack Obama visits the state on May 26 to tour tornado-damaged areas.

• A monster storm strikes Canadian and Oklahoma counties on May 31, with an EF3 tornado causing widespread destruction in El Reno. The storm badly floods rivers and streams in Oklahoma City. The raging flood waters wash away numerous people who had fled their homes in an attempt to escape the tornado. The death toll climbs to 23.


• The toll of drowning victims from the May 31 storm becomes clear as bodies are discovered in Oklahoma City's waterways. Alexis Johnson, who was 5 months old at the time of the storm, has not been found.

• August Reiger, who graduated in May from Classen School of Advanced Studies, disappears on a family trip in Ecuador. Reiger remains missing.


• Oklahoma City gambling figure Teddy Mitchell pleads guilty of involvement in an illegal Internet sports gambling business. Mitchell's son, Dryden R. Mitchell, pleads guilty to gambling and fraud charges. Teddy Mitchell's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9. Dryden Mitchell is sentenced to six months in federal prison.

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