News Minute: Here is the latest Oklahoma news from The Associate - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

News Minute: Here is the latest Oklahoma news from The Associated Press at 11:40 a.m. CDT

BETHANY, Okla. (AP) - An Oklahoma police officer has been cleared in the fatal shooting of a man, although the prosecutor criticized tactics used prior to the shooting. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says in a letter that Bethany officer Matthew Branscum was justified in the Feb. 10 shooting of 46-year-old James Stephen McMullen. Prater wrote in the letter to Police Chief Phil Cole that Branscum should have known he put himself in a dangerous position that he should not have been allowed to be in.

DENVER (AP) - Deep snow is melting into Western mountain streams, but some farmers and ranchers on the high plains are struggling amid a lengthy dry spell and the aftermath of destructive wildfires. A swath of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas has been in a drought or near-drought condition for six months, putting some of the winter wheat crop in doubt. Officials say last month's wildfires killed more than 20,000 cattle and pigs across the four states.

LAVACA, Ark. (AP) - Authorities say a body has been found near the Arkansas River in a public access area in western Arkansas. Sebastian County Sheriff's Capt. Philip Pevehouse says the body was found Tuesday afternoon in the Vache Grasse Public Access area near Lavaca. He says the person's name is not being released, but said it is not either of two people missing since a boating accident in the river on Sunday in neighboring Le Flore County, Oklahoma.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A commission that's been conducting a review of Oklahoma's use of the death penalty says the state should extend its moratorium on capital punishment. Members of the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission made the decision unanimously. The panel released its final, 300-plus page report Tuesday. Former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry co-chaired the group. He said the volume and seriousness of flaws with the state's system still needs reform before it can carry out the death penalty.

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