Murder

Our guests today are the co-authors of an engrossing new book that blends true crime, memoir, and investigative reportage. Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan join us to talk about "The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer." This book details the life of a neglected young girl growing up in the Cape Cod region of the late 1960s, revealing in particular how she developed a friendship with her charismatic yet off-beat babysitter -- a man who, as she learned years later, was actually a serial killer.

Sand Springs Police Department

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. (AP) — A Sand Springs man shot and killed his two teenage daughters before turning the gun on himself, police said Tuesday.

Police Capt. Todd Enzbrenner said the Sand Springs man’s wife called police about 1 p.m. Tuesday expressing concerns about the safety of her daughters. Enzbrenner said police were unable to reach the man on the phone and discovered the bodies after entering the home.

Muskogee Police Department

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — Six people, including five young children, were shot to death early Tuesday at a home in Muskogee, and a 25-year-old man suspected in the killings was taken into custody, police said.

Officers responded about 1:30 a.m. to a call of multiple people shot at a home, Muskogee Police Department Officer Lynn Hamlin said.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man who has spent 35 years in prison in a murder case featured in the book and television series “The Innocent Man” must remain incarcerated even after a judge ordered his release, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

The Court of Criminal Appeals ordered Tommy Ward, 60, to remain imprisoned while the state appeals the lower court’s ruling that he be released. 

Facebook / Tulsa Police Department

Dozens of supporters cheered and looked on Thursday at Tulsa International Airport as Tulsa Police Department Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan, injured in a June shooting, stepped off a plane following months of rehabilitation at an out-of-state facility.

Zarkeshan was immediately greeted by Mayor G.T. Bynum, who hugged him and said, "Welcome home!"

On a TPD livestream of the event, Zarkeshan, who appeared physically healthy and in good spirits, addressed the camera and more than 1,000 viewers directly.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The $500,000 bond for an Uber driver charged with murder in Tulsa has been revoked and he has been returned to jail.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma prosecutors are seeking to revoke bond for an Uber driver accused of murdering his passenger during a June altercation to ensure he won’t flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Our guest is the true-crime writer Jax Miller, who joins us to discuss her new book. "Hell in the Heartland" documents a stranger-than-fiction cold case from rural Oklahoma that has stumped authorities for some two decades. The book is called "Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls." As was noted by Library Journal: "True crime fans who are fascinated by the dark side of rural life and police incompetence, and open to a somewhat ambiguous ending, will find much to savor."

Photo From Wikipedia

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a surprising 5-4 decision in the case of McGirt v. Oklahoma; the Court ruled that much of the eastern half of Oklahoma is still an Indian reservation. In doing so, the Court affirmed that -- because Congress had not expressly disestablished the Muskogee Creek Reservation, which was created well over a century ago -- that Reservation still exists when it comes to the Federal Major Crimes Act.

File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma court is expected to rule Thursday on an appeal by a man who was convicted in the fatal stabbings of five family members when he was 16. 

Michael Bever, 21, is asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to change his sentence to allow him to eventually become eligible for parole. 

Our guest is the Tulsa-based author Hunter Howe Cates, who tells us about his new book, "Oklahoma's Atticus." It's a work of biography/history that profiles his own grandfather, Tulsa County public defender and Creek tribal member Elliott Howe. Howe, as we learn, was closely involved in the investigation and trial of a Tulsa murder case that made national news back in the early 1950s. On Nov. 7th, Cates will do a free-to-the-public reading and signing in connection with this work at Magic City Books.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we revisit our fascinating 2017 conversation with David Grann, the bestselling author and staff writer at The New Yorker Magazine. At that time, Grann was promoting his then-new book, "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI" (which has been optioned for a much-talked-about film version). Grann will deliver a free-to-the-public Presidential Lecture here at TU on Tuesday the 22nd; his talk begins at 7:30pm in the Reynolds Center.

Our guests are the father and son team of John and Denver Nicks, who join us to duscuss their newly published, co-written book, "Conviction: The Murder Trial That Powered Thurgood Marshall's Fight for Civil Rights." This book tells the true and shocking but little-remembered story of a triple murder that happened in 1939 near Hugo, Oklahoma. An African-American farm-hand named W.D. Lyons was wrongly accused of this crime, and his lawyer was one Thurgood Marshall, who was then a young counsel with the NAACP's newly created Legal Defense and Education Fund.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to our April 2017 chat with David Grann, the bestselling author and staff writer at The New Yorker Magazine, about his book, "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI." As was noted of this book by a critic writing for Time: "Nearly 100 years ago, the Osage tribe of Oklahoma were thought to be the wealthiest people per capita in the world, thanks to their oil-rich reservation, kindly sold back to them by the federal government that had snatched it away.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jayne Anne Phillips, the acclaimed fiction writer whose previous books include "Black Tickets," "Machine Dreams," and "Lark and Termite." In her newest book, just out in paperback, Phillips both explores and re-imagines a real crime that occurred in 1931, in a West Virginia town not far from where she herself grew up. Phillips tells us of this novel -- called "Quiet Dell" -- on today's program.

Charges Filed in Tulsa Homicide

Oct 16, 2012
Tulsa County Booking photo

A 20-year-old Tulsa man has been charged with first-degree murder in his mother’s death. William Matthew Stick was arrested earlier this month after his mother, Veronica Stick, was found on her front porch with a stab wound. Stick is being held without bond in a Tulsa County jail.

Veronica Stick was the church secretary for the All Souls Unitarian Church in South Tulsa. Her son, William, also worked there as the church janitor.

Tulsa County Jail

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A jury has been seated in the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting a Tulsa businessman in a murder-for-hire plot.

Opening statements and testimony were scheduled to begin Tuesday in the trial of Terrico Bethel, who is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the killing of Neal Sweeney.

Prosecutors allege Bethel shot Sweeney at Sweeney's business, Retail Fuels Marketing, on Sept. 4, 2008. The 63-year-old died the next day.

KWGS News Map

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — Authorities are investigating after two people were found dead in a Tahlequah home.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says police were called to the home Wednesday night to do a welfare check. Once there, officers discovered two people dead inside the home.

OSBI says the bodies of the man and woman both showed signs of significant trauma.

Investigators are working to confirm the identities of the two people. No one has been arrested.