Court rejects appeal of woman in stepfather death
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has turned down appeals by a woman convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her stepfather.
Christina Leigh Stribel was convicted in Okmulgee County and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the 2011 death of Timothy Parenti at Parenti's home in Schulter.
Stribel had argued several points on appeal - including improper testimony, improper jury instructions, prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective counsel.
The court on Tuesday rejected each of those appeals.
State says media is not entitled to see executions
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Attorneys for the state of Oklahoma argue the media is not entitled to witness executions and that a lawsuit seeking more access to the procedure should be dismissed.
In a motion to dismiss filed Tuesday in federal court, assistant Attorney General Daniel Weitman wrote that having media witnesses at an execution does not play a "positive role in the actual functioning of the process."
The Oklahoma Observer and Guardian US newspapers filed a lawsuit last month asking a federal judge to declare the media be allowed to view an execution in its entirety, including the insertion of intravenous lines used to deliver the lethal injection.
The lawsuit followed the April 29 execution of inmate Clayton Lockett, during which prison officials lowered a shade that blocked the view of media witnesses.
Attorney challenges Capitol overhaul bond plan
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma City attorney is challenging the Legislature's plan for a $120 million bond issue to pay for improvements to the state Capitol.
Attorney Jerry Fent filed a notice Tuesday with the governor and attorney general indicating his opposition to the plan. Fent claims the bill authorizing the bond issue was an unconstitutional special law because it addressed only one state building.
Fent's formal opposition to the plan is expected to delay the issuing of the bonds to pay for the renovations to the nearly 100-year-old building.
Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger (DOR'-fling-ur), whose office is overseeing the project, says Fent's objection has no merit and will be a "temporary inconvenience" to the restoration project.
Deceased man's family call for fed investigation
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The family of a man who died after a struggle with police outside a movie theater says a private autopsy they had conducted came up with a different cause of death than the state medical examiner's office.
The family of 44-year-old Luis Rodriguez said Tuesday they are calling for the Justice Department to investigate the death that occurred outside a Moore theater after their autopsy found that Rodriguez died of asphyxia. The state medical examiner had earlier released findings that showed Rodriguez died of cardiac arrhythmia due to physical restraint and an underlying heart condition.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn had earlier said the officers involved in the incident won't face charges. Mashburn says Rodriguez's physical health caused his death, not the actions of police and security guards.
Man found dead in Taft, deemed suspicious
TAFT, Okla. (AP) - The Muskogee County sheriff says the death of a man whose body was found in a cemetery in Taft is a possible homicide.
Sheriff Charles Pearson told the Muskogee Phoenix (http://bit.ly/YPPz6n ) that the body was found about 1 p.m. Tuesday by an Oklahoma Department of Corrections employee at Blackjack Cemetery. The corrections department maintains the cemetery.
The man's name and the suspected cause of death were not released. The body was sent to the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.
DEATH PENALTY-NITROGEN GAS
Legislators explore gas as execution option
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma legislators are exploring the option of executing condemned inmates with nitrogen gas.
A formal interim study requested by Oklahoma City Republican Mike Christian was held Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.
Christian is a staunch supporter of the death penalty who says he plans to draft a bill on the matter for next year's Legislature, which begins in February.
Christian requested the study after Oklahoma's lethal injection in April of Clayton Lockett, who writhed on the gurney, clenched his teeth and moaned before being pronounced dead about 43 minutes after his execution began.
East Central University assistant professor of criminology Michael Copeland testified that medical and scientific evidence suggests death by use of nitrogen gas would be painless, humane and easy to administer.
OKLAHOMA TEACHER HONORED
Tahlequah teacher is Oklahoma Teacher of the Year
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A high school math teacher has been named Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year.
Jason Scott Proctor was named Tuesday from among 12 finalists by state Superintendent Janet Barressi during a ceremony at the Oklahoma State Fair in Oklahoma City.
Proctor is Oklahoma's 60th Teacher of the Year and the first from Tahlequah. He will represent Oklahoma in the National Teacher of the Year competition next spring.
Proctor receives a new car to drive for appearances during the coming year. He and his school district each receive $5,000 in addition to numerous other prizes.
The 11 other finalists receive $1,000 each.
Oklahoma gas prices decline as summer nears end
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The price of gasoline is falling in Oklahoma and AAA Oklahoma says it may continue declining through Halloween.
AAA said Tuesday that the statewide average for a gallon of self-serve regular is $3.25 - down nearly 3 cents per gallon from last week and down almost 20 cents during the past two months. AAA said the price may fall another 20 cents by Halloween.
Average prices in selected cities range from $3.11 in Lawton to $3.50 in Guymon. Drivers in Oklahoma City are paying an average of $3.19 per gallon while those in Tulsa are paying $3.13.
AAA spokesman Chuck Mai says the demand and the price of crude oil are both falling and some stations have switched to less expensive winter-grade fuels.
The nationwide average is $3.38 per gallon.
Rare virus causing illness confirmed in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma State Department of Health says a virus causing respiratory illness in children has been confirmed in Oklahoma.
The department says enterovirus D68 is a relatively rare virus. It had been confirmed in 11 other states, including Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.
The Centers for Disease Control says seven of 24 specimens submitted from Oklahoma hospitals and laboratories tested positive for the virus. The virus has been associated with an increase in pediatric admissions at hospitals in central Oklahoma.
Symptoms of the virus are similar to the common cold, but the illness can rapidly progress in severity and cause wheezing and difficulty breathing.
State Epidemiologist Kristy Bradley says children under 5 and children with underlying asthma appear to be at the greatest risk of having medical complications.
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