Local, State briefs
BY Staff Reports
Saturday, February 02, 2013
2/02/13 at 2:52 AM
Preliminary hearing set for teenager in mother's death
A March 14 preliminary hearing is scheduled for a Tulsa teenager who is accused of murdering his mother.
Henry David "Hank" Laird, 17, made a brief appearance before a judge Friday via a video link between the Tulsa Jail and a courtroom at the Tulsa County Courthouse.
A not-guilty plea was entered on Laird's behalf, and Special Judge Charles Hogshead appointed the Tulsa County Public Defender's Office to represent him.
Laird, who was arrested Jan. 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal beating of Linda Laird, 56.
She was found dead at the base of a staircase in her home in the 7400 block of South Urbana Avenue on Jan. 22.
A medical examiner indicated that she died of blunt force trauma to her head and neck, according to a police report.
Linda Laird's parents told police that the son was at the Lairds' house when they arrived and found her body, according to police.
A witness told investigators that he saw Hank Laird beat his mother in the head with the butt of a shotgun, police reported.
Laird is being held without bail in the Tulsa Jail.
- BILL BRAUN, World Staff Writer
Tulsa child murderer's appeal again is rejected
A federal appeals court denied another challenge Friday by a man who was convicted of killing and dismembering a Tulsa boy in 1989.
The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided 3-0 against Wayne Henry Garrison's claims that events during his trial violated his right to a fair trial. Garrison was convicted of murdering Justin Wiles, 13.
Justin, who lived in the same neighborhood as Garrison, vanished in June 1989. Parts of his body were found in Lake Bixhoma and on the lake shore four days after his family last saw him alive.
Garrison, now 53, was not charged with the murder until 1999. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001, but his sentence was overturned on appeal. Garrison then was sentenced to of life without parole.
The Denver-based appeals court concluded that a previous decision by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals properly rejected an earlier challenge of the four claims in Garrison's current appeal.
Those claims were:
- ROBERT BOCZKIEWICZ, World Correspondent
- A 10-year delay in prosecuting him violated his right to due process because several potential defense witnesses had died.
- The evidence against him was insufficient.
- A prosecutor's comment to jurors was improperly prejudicial.
- His attorney was severely ineffective in the conviction stage of trial.
Suspect in Tulsa gropings, indecent exposures caught
A man who is suspected of groping women and exposing himself in the Tulsa area has been arrested in Missouri, Tulsa police reported.
Jaime Thomas Hartness, 32, was arrested Friday evening by the Jasper County (Mo.) Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Marshals Service, Officer Leland Ashley said.
He was charged in Tulsa County District Court on Thursday with four counts of sexual battery and three counts of indecent exposure, records show.
Police announced that day that they were searching for Hartness in connection with a series of sexual batteries in the Woodland Hills Mall area as well as in Broken Arrow and Bixby.
Hartness is a registered sex offender from Carthage, Mo., police said.
- DAVID HARPER, World Staff Writer
Charges filed in attempted pharmacy robbery in Bixby
A Tulsa man was charged Friday with attempting to rob a pharmacy last week.
Tyler Joseph Burns, 23, was charged in Tulsa County District Court with having a firearm when he tried to rob the CVS Pharmacy at 101st Street and Memorial Drive on Jan. 24.
The charge says Burns failed to complete the robbery because he was stopped by police.
Bixby and Tulsa police worked together to make the arrest. At the time Burns was apprehended, officers said he also might be linked to similar Tulsa-area robberies.
However, the only other felony charge filed against Burns in Tulsa County District Court on Friday alleges that Burns possessed a firearm on the day of the attempted robbery while under the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Assistant District Attorney Julie Doss said Friday evening that the investigation is ongoing.
Burns remained in the Tulsa Jail on Friday night, according to the jail's website.
- DAVID HARPER, World Staff Writer
Police witness collision, arrest driver after pursuit
Tulsa police officers witnessed a vehicle cross the center line and collide with another vehicle before its driver fled and led officers on a short chase.
Police said Ashley Stahl, 24, was intoxicated when she drove a GMC Jimmy sport utility vehicle left of center in the 500 block of South Harvard Avenue and struck a car containing a 10-month-old child and two adults about 9 p.m. Thursday.
No injuries were reported.
Officers witnessed the wreck and went to help those involved, police said. They said Stahl then drove east into a neighborhood and was pursued by officers.
The vehicle was damaged in the collision and stalled in the 4100 block of East Fifth Place. Police said Stahl initially refused to get out of the vehicle but eventually surrendered and was arrested.
She was booked into the Tulsa Jail on complaints of driving under the influence (third offense), eluding police officers, hit and run, obstructing police and other traffic citations. Her bail is more than $20,000.
- JERRY WOFFORD, World Staff Writer
Two men killed in crash in southeastern Oklahoma
Two southeastern Oklahoma men were killed in a head-on crash in Atoka County early Friday.
Dead are Eric Heath Reid, 29, of Krebs and Allen Monroe Banks, 38, of Atoka.
Reid's 2003 eastbound Chevrolet sedan crossed the center line on Oklahoma 7 about two miles west of Atoka and struck Banks' westbound 2003 Oldsmobile sedan about 4:40 a.m., the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.
Banks was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said. Reid was pinned in the wreckage for about 45 minutes and died after arriving at an Atoka hospital.
Both men were wearing seat belts, and neither one had a passenger, troopers reported.
- from staff reports
Sex-crimes suspect placed on house arrest in Owasso
TAHLEQUAH - A Tahlequah man facing nine counts of sexual misconduct with a minor was released on bond Wednesday.
Roxie Lee Wagers, 72, was released on $100,000 bond and ordered to wear an ankle monitor while under house arrest at a relative's home in Owasso while he awaits trial.
Wagers was arrested on Jan. 22 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and later was charged with nine counts of lewd molestation and one count of attempted solicitation of a minor for indecent exposure, according to earlier reports.
According to U.S. Marshals Service Deputy James Brown, a bond hearing was scheduled for Feb. 13 but was moved up to Wednesday by Special District Judge Mark Dobbins.
Brown said he considers Wagers a flight risk, noting that he recently sold his ranch in Fort Gibson and has close ties with people in Colombia. He said federal marshals and law enforcement officials in Oklahoma and Florida spent more than $100,000 investigating the case, and he expressed disappointment in the judge's decision.
"I feel like I have let the family down," Brown said.
According to Cherokee County sheriff's detective Thomas Donnell, Wagers is accused of asking a 15-year-old relative and her friend to buy underwear with money he gave them so they could model them. He also exposed himself to the girls and fondled them, he alleged.
Wagers is expected back in court Feb. 13.
- DALE ANN DEFFER, World Correspondent
State Capitol is evacuated after bogus bomb threat
OKLAHOMA CITY - A bomb threat forced the evacuation of the Capitol for about an hour Friday morning.
No devices were found, said Trooper Betsy Randolph, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.
A woman called 911 in Oklahoma City about 10:25 a.m. Friday and said bombs had been placed at the governor's mansion and other locations. The caller said the devices would explode at 10:30 a.m., Randolph said.
Gov. Mary Fallin was in the Capitol and ordered the facility evacuated, and bomb technicians and dogs swept the mansion and Capitol, Randolph said.
Staff, visitors and school children were allowed to re-enter the Capitol about 11:30 a.m. Several students were at the Capitol for Colonial Day.
Officials believe that the threat was a hoax, Randolph said.
A suspect has been identified, said Sgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
The woman may face state or federal charges, Randolph said.
"These are very serious crimes," she added.
Fallin said: "My thanks go out to the Oklahoma City police, our state troopers and security personnel at the state Capitol who acted quickly today to keep everyone safe. Everyone is fine and glad to have such a professional group of men and women tasked with protecting the Capitol complex."
- BARBARA HOBEROCK, World Capitol Bureau
An Oklahoma Highway Patrol canine sniffs around the outside the state Capitol after it was evacuated Friday because of a bomb threat. DAVID MCDANIEL/The Oklahoman