Local & Regional

Verdict Reaction

May 17, 2017
KWGS File Photo

Mayor Bynum: 

Betty Shelby Ruled Not Guilty

May 17, 2017
Tulsa Police

A jury on Wednesday acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer who says she fired out of fear last year when she killed an unarmed black man.

The family of Terence Crutcher burst into tears and expressed outrage after jurors found Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 16 shooting. About 100 demonstrators later gathered outside the courthouse and some briefly blocked a main street.

Governor's Office

Oklahoma Baptist Relief teams are helping victims of the Elk City tornado this week. Deployment Coordinator Dave Carr says a shelter is set up at the First Baptist Church in Elk City with a feeding station and chainsaw teams are helping clear debris and downed trees. He says chaplains always accompany the teams to help meet spiritual needs of the victims.

Other teams are still helping clear damage from straight line winds in the Oklahoma City area, and aiding farmers who lost fences in the Northwestern Oklahoma wildfires earlier this spring.

Collins Liquor

 

The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation allowing retail package liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sunday on a county-option basis.

The Senate voted 26-14 for the bill on Wednesday and sent it to the House.

Oklahoma currently prohibits retail package liquor stores from selling alcohol on Sunday.

Additional Charges Filed Against Sapulpa Teacher

May 17, 2017
Facebook

That Sapulpa 2nd Grade teacher, charged with bringing drugs into her classroom, is now facing additional charges.

Creek County Prosecutors added a charge of Child Neglect to Megan Sloan's court case portfolio. She is already charged with bringing drugs and syringes into her class.

She is also suspected of taking Field Trip money to help pay for her assumed drug habit along with pawning school district owned iPads.

State of Oklahoma

It was a wild day at the state capitol as lawmakers tried to find new sources of revenue to fill the nearly $900 million budget shortfall and fund teacher pay raises. But, with just three days left to find new money, they’re likely back at the drawing board.

Starting about noon, there were rumors that a budget agreement had been reached between the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate and Governor Mary Fallin. The scheduled an announcement for 2:30 p.m.

In the local news:

  • Betty Shelby trial should go to the jury today.
  • A tornado leaves one person dead at Elk City..
  • Lawmakers attempt a "Hail Mary Revenue Plan" but come up short.

File Photo

 

 Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier convicted of giving classified government materials to WikiLeaks, was released from a Kansas military prison early Wednesday after serving seven years of her 35-year sentence.

U.S. Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told The Associated Press that Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth military prison, but that she couldn't provide any further details. Manning tweeted after she was granted clemency that she planned to move to Maryland. The Crescent, Oklahoma, native has an aunt who lives there.

One Dead in Elk City Tornado

May 17, 2017
OEM

A tornado damaged much of a subdivision on the southern fringe of Elk City. Fire Chaplain Danny Ringer told reporters at the scene late Tuesday that one person was known dead from the twister, although details were lacking.

The twister was part of a powerful storm system that moved into Oklahoma from the Texas Panhandle. Around 100 homes sustained damage at Elk City. The golf course area was the hardest hit.

The person killed was a 53-year-old man, who was driving at the time.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Seeking to close the $878 million budget gap with time running out, Oklahoma lawmakers take up a new so-called “big bill.”

All told, the changes are worth $386 million. House Bill 2414 raises cigarette taxes $1.50 per pack, raises gas and diesel taxes $0.06 per gallon, and reduces the time oil and gas production is taxed at 2 percent from 36 months to 18.

Minority Leader Scott Inman said Oklahomans deserve better.

Jury Gets Shelby Case

May 16, 2017
File photo

Jurors are deliberating in the manslaughter trial of an Oklahoma police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year.

The jury got the case shortly after noon Wednesday. They must decide whether Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby committed a crime Sept. 16 when she killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.

Shelby could spend between four years to life in prison if she's convicted.

KWGS News Photo

 

Oklahoma Senate Republicans have passed a revenue bill to generate an estimated more than $500 million through a combination of cigarette and fuel tax increases and the elimination of energy industry tax incentives.

The GOP-controlled Senate voted 36-9 on Monday for the bill with 36 votes needed to meet the three-fourths threshold required for a tax increase to pass. Three Republicans and all six Democrats voted against the bill.

KWGS File Photo

 

Closing arguments are set for tomorrow in the Betty Shelby trial. The defense rested its side of the case at lunchtime today.

The judge refused to declare a mistrial in the manslaughter trial of a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year.

Attorneys for Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby sought the mistrial, saying prosecutors implied Shelby was guilty because she took several days to make an official statement about her actions during the Sept. 16 shooting.

Cherokee Nation

 

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker delivered testimony Tuesday before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. Chief Baker was part of a tribal leaders’ panel invited to deliver comments on funding for American Indian/Alaska Native programs. Chief Baker addressed the effect of potential budget cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of the Interior. He also called for a Bureau of Indian Education program equivalent to the Indian Health Service Joint Venture Construction Program.

No One Hurt in Tulsa QT School Bus Crash

May 16, 2017
Google Street View

A Tulsa School Bus swerves to miss a car that failed to stop at a red light. The bus went out of control and crashed into a parked car at the Admiral and North Harvard Quik-Trip.

Five students were on the bus. The students were checked out by EMSA and then sent on to school.  The crash took place around 7 a.m.

OHP-Facebook

 

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper has shot and killed a 48-year-old man after authorities say he took a relative hostage and later aimed a crossbow at law enforcement personnel.

Officials say OHP was assisting Seminole County sheriff's deputies Monday in serving an arrest warrant for Keith Andrew Chesser at a home in Wewoka, southeast of Oklahoma City.

Authorities say Chesser was wanted on several misdemeanor warrants and did not comply with orders to surrender before barricading himself while taking a woman hostage.

In the local news:

  • Officer Betty Shelby takes the stand in her own defense.
  • The Tulsa School Board votes for a consolidation plan.
  • The cigarette tax hike fails in the legislature.

State Impact

 

TransCanada Corp. is reassessing whether oil producers in North Dakota and Montana are still interested in shipping crude through its long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline now that they have other new options to ship their product, including the Dakota Access pipeline.

Board Approves TPS Cuts

May 16, 2017
file photo

The Tulsa School Board votes 5-to-2 on a cost saving plan for the district. The schools are expecting a $12-million shortfall brought on by the state's ongoing cash crisis. Board members Gary Percefull and Jennettie Marshall voted against the plan.

The proposal would close three elementary schools in west Tulsa. All of the schools are in Percefull's district. Remington, Park and Porter would be consolidated into what is now the Clinton Middle School. Clinton students would be transferred to Webster High School. Webster would become a joint Junior and Senior High.

KWGS News Photo

The Oklahoma Association of Realtors is against a proposal to cap itemized state income tax deductions.

House Bill 2403 caps them at $17,000 for three years. OAR President Pete Galbraith said that will affect a big incentive for homebuyers.

"The mortgage interest deduction has always been kind of the holy grail, sacred cow of the housing industry, and unless they were to cap it at $30,000 or $40,000, I just don't see any way that the realtors would embrace this," Galbraith said.

File Photo

The Oklahoma House failed Monday to pass a $1.50 per pack cigarette increase that was a big part of Republican budget plans.

Rep. Leslie Osborn tried to encourage her colleagues to vote yes on House Bill 2372, saying it would help the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, OSU Medical Authority, local health departments and others potentially facing severe cuts.

Betty Shelby Takes the Stand

May 15, 2017
Tulsa Police

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby took the stand Monday in her own defense.

Shelby, who is white, is being tried on a first-degree manslaughter charge in the death of Terence Crutcher, who was unarmed and black.

Shelby’s attorneys called her to the stand around 11:30 Monday morning, asking her about her training and career. Shelby said she’s pulled her gun dozens of times in her 10 years as a police officer and sheriff’s deputy but never fired because the person at gunpoint always followed her orders.

66 Homes Damaged by Owasso Tornado

May 15, 2017
Rogers County

There is no dollar figure just yet, but officials in Rogers County say last Thursday afternoon's tornado near Owasso caused a lot of damage. The Rogers County Emergency Management Agency has wrapped up its review and found 66 homes, in the area, sustained damage.

The tornado touched down near 106th Street North and 161 East Avenue about 2 p.m. on Thursday. The National Weather Service says it was an E-F 1 tornado. It had winds of about 100 miles an hour. There were no injuries.

Tom Cole

 Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma is joining with Republican leaders who are urging President Donald Trump to avoid appointing a politician to replace fired FBI Director James Comey.  Cole said in an editorial released Monday that the next leader of the agency should be "completely divorced from partisan politics."  Some other GOP leaders have urged Trump to do the same, including South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.  Among the 14 candidates under consideration for the top FBI post are former Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan and Sen.

Swimmer's Body Recovered from Lake Eufaula

May 15, 2017
Google Street View

A body is pulled from the water of Lake Eufaula on Monday morning. A 24-year-old man was found about 18-hours after he went missing.

Officials say the man had been drinking when he decided Sunday afternoon to go for a swim. When he didn't come back friends became searching for him. They then called authorities.

The body was recovered near the Eufaula Cove Marina just after day break on Monday.

NPR

 

Two earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma by the U.S. Geological Survey bring to a dozen the number of temblors recorded in the state during the weekend.

A 2.9 magnitude quake was recorded at 2:24 a.m. Sunday near Red Rock in northern Oklahoma and a 2.5 quake was recorded at 4:22 a.m. near Seiling in northern Oklahoma.

They come after 10 quakes on Saturday, including a 4.2 magnitude temblor near Waynoka. The others were magnitude 3.1 or less.

No injuries or damage have been reported.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

 

A stalemate in the Oklahoma Legislature over how to fill an $878 million hole in next year's state budget and Gov. Mary Fallin's vow to veto any spending plan that includes dramatic cuts to vital public services is making the possibility of a special budget-writing legislative session more likely.

Crash Killed Oakhurst Teen

May 15, 2017
Google Street View

A Sunday afternoon motorcycle crash kills at 18-year-old from Oakhurst. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the crash happened just before 5 p.m. in the 6300 Block of West Avery Drive.

The patrol says Cobie Tyner was killed when his 2007 Kawasaki motorcycle collided head on with a passenger car. The OHP says Tyner was dead at the scene.  The patrol says speed was a factor in the crash.

The driver of the car suffered minor injuries and was treated and released.

In the local news:

  • The Tulsa School Board takes up school consolidation.
  • Week 2 of the Betty Shelby trial begins.
  • Lawmakers resume working on a new state budget.

Week Two Begins in Shelby Trial

May 15, 2017
Tulsa Police

Testimony resumes this morning in the Betty Shelby Manslaughter Trial. This is the second week of the trial. Shelby is a White Tulsa Police officer. She is accused of killing unarmed Black man Terrance Crutcher last September.

Shelby has said in the past, she believed Crutcher was going for a gun when she fired. No gun was found. Crutcher did have illegal drugs in his system at the time. Shelby's attorneys claim this explains Crutcher's erratic behavior. 

The trial is expected to last the rest of the week.

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