Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Execution
6:08 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Department Of Corrections Director Says State Has Drugs Needed For Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Oklahoma's prison system chief says the state has the drugs it needs to execute four inmates early next year and plans to administer the same three drugs used in a botched execution this spring.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton told a federal judge Friday the agency plans to use the exact formula used successfully in 11 executions in Florida, one that he believes is "humane."

The judge plans to rule Monday in a case in which lawyers for 21 death row inmates say the sedative midazolam presents a risk of cruel and unusual punishment.

Read more
Oklahoma Execution
4:29 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Federal Judge Dismisses Media Lawsuit On Access To Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by media organizations that sought greater access to the execution of Oklahoma death row inmates.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton dismissed the lawsuit on Friday. He rejected allegations that Oklahoma's execution protocols violate the First Amendment.

The lawsuit was filed in August by Oklahoma Observer and the Guardian US news organizations following the April 29 of inmate Clayton Lockett, who writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before he was pronounced dead about 43 minutes after his execution began.

Read more
Oklahoma News
3:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Oklahoma Unemployment Rate Dips In November

Credit Kate Hiscock / Flickr Creative Commons

State officials say Oklahoma's unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent last month.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Friday that November's unemployment rate showed a slight decrease from October's rate of 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent.

Over the year, the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 1.1 percentage points.

Read more
Oklahoma Executions
4:26 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Corrections Department Attorney Says He Felt Pressured To Move Forward On Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A longtime lawyer for Oklahoma's prison system says he felt pressured by the governor's and attorney general's offices to make sure executions last spring happened on schedule, despite the lack of an execution method.

Corrections Department lawyer Michael Oakley said during a federal court hearing Thursday that he felt pressured "to get it done."

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
10:45 am
Thu December 18, 2014

StateImpact’s Biggest Stories Of 2014 And A Preview Of Reporting In The Coming Year

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

StateImpact racked up thousands of miles traveling across the state this year, filing more than 40 radio stories and hundreds of web posts on how government energy, environmental and economic policy affects ordinary Oklahomans. And many of those stories involve issues that are ongoing.

EPA Regulations

Read more
StateImpact Oklahoma
6:47 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Depletion Of Ogallala Aquifer Likely Caused By Irrigation, USGS Says

Center pivot irrigation in southwestern Oklahoma.
cstoddard Flickr Creative Commons

Groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation is likely responsible for substantial depletions of the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies 175,000 square miles in Oklahoma and seven other states, a report by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests.

Read more
Stored In Stolen Trailer
4:39 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Device Containing Radioactive Material Stolen From Hotel Parking Lot

Credit Blake Burkhart / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality says a gauge containing radioactive material has been stolen from the parking lot of an Oklahoma City hotel near Interstate 40.

The gauge is called a Humboldt Scientific 5001 EZ and is used to measure the moisture content and density of construction materials. It is not considered a health risk to humans unless it's opened and DEQ spokeswoman Skylar McElhaney said Wednesday that it would be difficult to open for a person unfamiliar with it.

Read more
Oklahoma News
1:36 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Prosecutors Drop Terrorism Hoax Charge For Beheading Threat

Credit creationc / Stock.XCHNG

Prosecutors are dropping a terrorism hoax charge against a former Oklahoma City nursing home employee who told his co-worker that he was going to cut off her head.

An Oklahoma County judge dismissed the felony charge Monday at the request of prosecutors.

District Attorney David Prater tells The Oklahoman the charge was withdrawn because the credibility of the co-worker came into question. Other witnesses at the nursing home said the ex-employee was clearly joking.

Read more
Oklahoma Executions
1:13 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Federal Judge Hears Testimony On Lethal Injection Challenge

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A doctor who examined the body of an Oklahoma inmate who died during a botched execution says he is convinced the man suffered after being declared unconscious.

A pathologist hired by the inmate's lawyer told a federal judge Wednesday that recently released witness statements corroborate his belief that Clayton Lockett was conscious when given drugs to stop his heart and breathing. A witness for the state said it didn't appear Lockett was uncomfortable or suffering.

Read more
Oklahoma News
12:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

State Medical Examiner Determines Inmate Cause Of Death

Tory Czernecki
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says the October death of inmate at the Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville was due to strangulation.

The department says the state medical examiner's office determined the cause of death of 22-year-old Tory Czernecki. The department says Czernecki died Oct. 26 after being assaulted in his cell by his cellmate.

The cellmate has not been charged, but Hughes County District Attorney Chris Ross told The Oklahoman that unspecified charges are expected.

Read more

Pages