Way back when: Today in history
BY GENE CURTIS
Thursday, March 07, 2013
3/07/13 at 3:06 AM
1912 - Liquor illegal
Liquor could not be sold in the 40 counties of eastern Oklahoma that formerly comprised Indian Territory under new federal regulations. For more than four years, Oklahomans in those counties had believed they had the same right to buy and consume liquor as those who lived in the area that comprised Oklahoma Territory before the two were joined as Oklahoma in 1907. Not so, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled. That court said liquor could not be introduced into the Indian Territory area under any circumstances, including for medicinal or sacramental purposes.
1980 - Killer sentenced to death
Roger Dale Stafford was sentenced to death by a Purcell jury for the murders of three members of a Texas family, bringing to nine the number of death sentences he faced for Oklahoma murders. "I didn't do the crime. I'm not guilty," Stafford said. But he added "if it comes time for me to die, I'm man enough and I'll take what they give me." Stafford was convicted in McClain County of killing Air Force Sgt. Melvin Lorenz, 38, his wife, Linda, 31, and their son, Richard, 12, of San Antonio in 1978. Stafford was executed by lethal injection July 1, 1995.
1994 - Women assigned to carrier
About 60 women were assigned for regular duty on the USS Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier, to become the first females assigned for regular duty on a combat ship. Service on warships was opened to females by a defense authorization bill passed by Congress a year earlier. About 500 more women would become part of the 5,500 crew members on the Eisenhower a few months later. Women had served on support ships since 1978 and a few had served on temporary assignments on carriers. "I want to go out and show them that we can do it," said Cecelia L. Daley, an aviation ordnance specialist, who was one of the initial contingent.
1995 - Death penalty signed
A bill making New York the 38th state with a death penalty was signed by Gov. George Pataki seven hours after it was passed by the state assembly. The New York Legislature had passed capital punishment bills for 18 consecutive years but all were vetoed for 12 years by former Gov. Mario Cuomo and for four years by his predecessor, Hugh Carey. "Our state has traveled a long and arduous road to arrive at this point in history," the Republican governor said. "That long road is now over. Justice will now be served." But Cuomo said the new law was "a shame." A Democrat, he acknowledged that his opposition to the death penalty may have caused his defeat a year earlier by Pataki, who supported capital punishment in his campaign.