EXECUTION DRUGS-OKLAHOMA LAWSUIT
Oklahoma judge won't grant execution delays
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma County district judge says she's not the right judge to delay two executions while inmates challenge Oklahoma's execution procedures.
Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner have sued the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to learn more about the drugs that would be used to execute them. After state lawyers claimed District Court Judge Patricia Parrish didn't have jurisdiction, Parrish said Monday requests for delays should go to the state Court of Criminal Appeals, which sets execution dates. She says she can handle the actual challenge to the law.
Last week, a federal judge moved the case to Parrish's courtroom.
In their lawsuit, the inmates say they fear the drugs to be used are impure and could cause them to suffer.
Lockett's execution date is March 20. Warner's is March 27.
LEFLORE COUNTY-THREE DEAD
Whitesboro deaths ruled double homicide-suicide
WHITESBORO, Okla. (AP) - Authorities say three people found dead in an eastern Oklahoma house fire died as a result of a double murder-suicide.
LeFlore County Sheriff Rob Seale says the March 3 fire in Whitesboro was intentionally set by 30-year-old Jacob Custard. The sheriff says Custard killed his mother and stepfather before setting the house on fire then shooting himself.
Seale says authorities may not be able to pinpoint a cause of death for 57-year-old Edith Custard and 80-year-old Lawrence Schlienz because their bodies were badly burned.
The sheriff said Jacob Custard had a history of mental health problems and had stopped taking his medication.
Seale says the house was destroyed in the blaze and investigators were unable to determine an exact cause or origin of the blaze.
Woman dead in Chouteau home, homicide suspected
CHOUTEAU, Okla. (AP) - The Mayes County sheriff says homicide is suspected in the death of a woman found inside a home in Chouteau and that a person of interest is being questioned.
Sheriff Mike Reed told reporters that the body of Verna Sarten was found about 1 a.m. Monday by deputies responding to a report of a woman not breathing at the house. Reed says Sarten had what appears to be blunt force trauma to her head.
Reed says authorities later found a person driving Sarten's vehicle and are questioning that person.
Reed says he's asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to assist in the investigation.
Bill boosts reimbursement for trooper equipment
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers would have their equipment allowance doubled for things like uniforms and practice ammunition under a bill approved by the Oklahoma House.
The House voted 84-3 for the bill on Monday that would boost the amount from $150 to $300 a month. It would also increase the equipment allowance for cadets from $100 to $200 per month.
The House author of the bill, Rep. Steve Vaughn, says the measure is among several to help increase pay for troopers.
Some members voiced concern about why troopers were being singled out for pay hikes ahead of other state workers, like prison guards, teachers and child-welfare specialists.
BRIDGE CLOSED-TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
Okla. bridge to be closed indefinitely for repairs
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma transportation officials say repair work on a closed bridge that connects Purcell and Lexington will take longer than expected and the bridge will remain closed indefinitely.
Transportation officials briefed members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission Monday on the status of the repairs to the US 77-State Highway 39 bridge over the Canadian River.
The bridge was closed Jan. 31 after cracks were discovered in structural bridge beams. The commission awarded an emergency contract for bridge repairs, and work began Feb. 14.
Work was supposed to be complete in 45 days, but workers have discovered additional cracks that will affect the timeline of the reopening of the bridge.
The bridge's closure has caused a 45-minute detour for commuters who travel between two communities that are less than one mile apart.
MISSING PERSONS DAY
Okla. Missing Persons Day set for next month
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) - Families of missing residents are set to attend the Oklahoma Missing Persons Day next month.
The April 12 event is scheduled to be held at the University of Central Oklahoma Forensic Science Institute.
Families will be able to complete a missing person report to law enforcement, provide additional investigative leads, enter the missing person into a national database called NamUs and provide a family DNA sample for entry into the FBI's system.
Families are asked to bring photographs, dental, medical records, and any other pertinent information about the missing person.
Counselling services will also be available to families.
BOB WILLS DAY
Bob Wills Day at Okla. Capitol set for March 19
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The halls of the Oklahoma State Capitol will be filling with the sound of music next week in honor of Bob Wills.
March 19 marks the annual Bob Wills Day of celebration at the capitol. Fiddlers and other musicians will perform in the morning at the House Chamber and again in the afternoon in the fourth floor rotunda.
Wills was born in Texas in 1905 and is considered the co-founder of Western swing.
Bob Wills helped bring notoriety to Tulsa's Cain's Ballroom. That's where Wills and the Texas Playboys broadcast their performances from in 1934.
Wills died in 1975 at age 70. He and his Playboys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
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