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Saturday October 19, 2019

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OKW News | South East Oklahoma Latest News

David Deaton

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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Press release


WEWOKA, Okla. - The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) arrested a former Wewoka Police Officer on charges he raped a minor.


On October 2, 2019, Wewoka Police Department requested OSBI assistance in investigating allegations of a police officer raping a 14-year-old female high school student. The student told school officials that Wewoka Police Officer Wendell Birt (33) began conversing with her via SnapChat in May 2019. Over the course of several months, Birt allegedly asked the juvenile for sexually explicit photographs and received them.


They met on three occasions in Wewoka, Okla., where Birt allegedly raped the juvenile.


Birt recently left the Wewoka Police Department and is currently working as a police officer for the Delaware Nation of Oklahoma.


The OSBI obtained an arrest warrant and the Bureau of Indian Affairs arrested Birt yesterday on the following charges:


* Rape (3 counts)
* Rape by Instrumentation (2 counts)
* Lewd or Indecent Proposals or Acts to Child Under 16


He was booked into the Caddo County Jail on a $500,000 bond.


If you suspect a child is being sexually exploited as part of this case or any other, please contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at (800) THE-LOST or or the OSBI at (800) 522-8017 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monday, 07 October 2019 17:41

CASC OAEA Attends Fall Conference at UCO

Press release



Carl Albert State College education majors and Oklahoma Aspiring Educators (OAEA) members recently attended the state fall conference at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.


The delegation attended workshops on everything from surviving the first year of teaching to using games in the classroom.


Attendees pictured from left to right: (Back row) Ivan Baker, Hannah Mabry, and Annabell Jackson, (Front row) Advisor Susan Hill, Carolina Eddins, Raven Cheney, Tonya Cruz, Bethany Cook, and Cherish Palmer.




The Murrow Masonic Lodge #49 of Spiro recently presented their annual donation to the Carl Albert State College Development Foundation for the CASC Scholars Program.



Pictured is CASC Executive Director of the Development Foundation Mandy Roberts (center) with Murrow Lodge members Robert Puhl (left), Joe Damato, and John Casey (right).

Press release

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced the state has been awarded the federal Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Grant to help collect, prioritize and test a number of the sexual assault forensic evidence kits that have been identified in police evidence rooms.

The three-year, $2.4 million grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, will fund the initiatives put forth by the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) Task Force after an audit identified over 7,000 sexual assault evidence kits were in police evidence rooms statewide.

A sexual assault evidence kit, also known as a rape kit, is a forensic exam used to collect evidence from a victim of sexual assault. The SAFE Task Force has met over the last two years to address the backlog.

Attorney General Hunter said applying for the grant was a natural decision by the task force to help with continued reform.

“We have made tremendous progress over the last few years in improving the entire process in our state,” Attorney General Hunter said. “This funding is going to help us expedite the reforms we have implemented, like the collection and testing of rape kits, while putting more resources toward helping victims. It will also assist us as we continue to reform the system to ensure the backlog never happens again. The grant announcement wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of the members of the SAFE Task Force, who have given so much time and attention to this very important issue.”

Governor Kevin Stitt, who earlier this year signed legislation recommended by the task force and also signed an executive order extending the work of the task force through 2023, commended members’ efforts.

“Because of the work and dedication of the members of the SAFE Task Force, our state now serves as a national model on how to end the backlog,” Governor Stitt said. “It is thanks to our significant progress in overhauling the system that our state was able to receive these funds to expedite the collection and testing of some of the kits. I applaud the members of the task force, who continue to do an exemplary job on behalf of victims of sexual assault.”

The conditions of the grant stipulate that the funding may only be used to inventory the existing numbers of unsubmitted rape kits, testing the kits and assign designated personnel to pursue new investigative leads and prosecutions and to support victims throughout the investigation and prosecution process.

The grant may also be used to develop evidence-tracking systems, train law enforcement on sexual assault investigations, conduct research on outcomes in sexual assault cases and increase the collection of offender DNA.

The state will use the funding to collect rape kits currently in law enforcement custody, categorize them to determine which kits will be submitted for testing and hire four positions. The positions will include a project manager that will assist district attorneys in re-opening cases, a victim advocate who will work directly with victims, a lead investigator and an additional agent who will work on cases.

Funding will also be provided to pay for overtime for lab technicians already on staff at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

SAFE Task Force
Made up of lawmakers, law enforcement officials, victim advocates, a survivor of sexual assault and other stakeholders, the SAFE Task Force has overhauled how rape kits are handled in the state.

The task force has developed a priority list for which untested kits would be submitted for testing.

Additionally, during this year’s legislative session, the task force proposed three pieces of legislation that all eventually passed and were signed into law.

The legislation included:
• The use of one standardized kit;
• A requirement for law enforcement agencies to submit kits for testing within 20 days;
• A mandate to keep all kits for at least 50 years or the length of the statute of limitations, whichever is longer;
• Requirements for all medical providers, law enforcement agencies, forensic labs and other agencies that have custody of sexual assault evidence collection kits participate in a statewide electronic tracking system being implemented by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation; and
• Additional training for law enforcement related to sexual assault response and evidence collection.

The task force continues to meet regularly to ensure the successful implementation of all initiatives.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A key criminal justice reform initiated by voters is bringing unprecedented opportunity for hundreds of non-violent Oklahoma inmates to become productive citizens. In preparation for the release of more than 700 current inmates in November, the governor’s office and several state agencies, volunteer organizations, and community partners, are working together to provide essential resources to these inmates whose sentences will be commuted as provided for in House Bill 1269, which passed last session to bring these sentences in line with the will of the voters.


The law allows the Pardon and Parole Board to recommend to the governor commutations for non-violent felony sentences now considered misdemeanors after State Question 780 was approved by voters.

Starting Oct. 10 at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security female prison, and Jess Dunn Correctional Center, a minimum-security male prison, in Taft, inmates slated for potential commutation and those nearing release will attend “transition fairs.”

These events, to be held inside 28 facilities, will connect inmates with organizations that provide assistance with housing, transportation, employment, mentoring, health care, mental health care and other resources offenders need after release.

The goal of these fairs is to ease inmates’ transition to life on the outside by connecting them with the services they need in advance.

“It is important that we provide our inmates with the support and resources they need in order to see them successfully reintegrate into society and become contributing members of our communities,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “By hosting resource fairs within our prisons, we are working to connect inmates with information and tools to help them as they leave the criminal justice system and return to their families and friends.”

“We want to provide these inmates every opportunity to return to society with the necessary compliment of resources and tools to ensure their successful reentry and become productive citizens wherever they go,” Interim Director Scott Crow said.

ODOC case managers already counsel each inmate before release, providing them with a list of available resources. These fairs, however, are a huge leap forward, bringing volunteers and nonprofits directly into prisons to meet with inmates before release.

The transition fairs will continue for two weeks. Volunteers and organizations wanting to get involved can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monday, 07 October 2019 17:25

SWAT Team performs at Local Churches

The S.W.A.T. Team (Students with a Testimony) from the Baptist Collegiate Ministries on the campus of Carl Albert State College presented their program of songs and skits at Double Branch Baptist Church on Sunday evening.

Their performance on Sunday was their first show of the season and their message is clear, to share the good news of Jesus Christ. If you missed their first performance, no worries, they have other shows scheduled in LeFlore County churches.

About the Baptist Collegiate Ministries

The BSM organization contributes to the spiritual life of the students at Carl Albert State College.


They are in a building constructed just off campus by the Leflore Baptist Association and Southern Baptist Convention of Oklahoma, its activities are open to students of all denominations and faiths.

Baptist Collegiate Ministry desires to meet students no matter where they are on their spiritual journey, and to impact lives with the gospel of Christ.

They offer a free noonday meal on Wednesday’s open to all students and meals are provided by churches in the LeFlore Baptist Association.

The S.W.A.T. is made of CASC students who desire to grow stronger in the faith and share their talents and gift through the community.

To learn more about the BSM or the SWAT Team contact BCM Director Bentley Hill at 918-647-4639

Marriage Licenses September 30-October 4, 2019

The LeFlore County Court Clerk’s Office issued marriage licenses to the following couples during the week of September 30-October 4, 2019:

Jake Edward Thomas and Caroline Brooke Carver

Shawn Derrall Martin and Racheal Ann Woodard

Shane Deon Abrahams and Tayley Annmarie Plummer

Ralph James Elmore and Tabbithia Krystyne Morris

Andy Dew Wayne Blaylock and Julie Ann Thompson

Jimmy Wayne Case and Rumeena Lashae Reichertz

Robert Hayden Neal and Maggie Michelle Nelson

Isaiah Daniel Jaramillo and Alexis Noel Gamble

Jered Michael Austin and Katelyn Rose Ilasi

Jesse Joe Bowman and Kristen Charee Duncan

Anthony Wayne McKinney and Vicki Sebo



HODGEN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has canceled visitation and locked down Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center, a minimum security prison for men located in LeFlore County.

The agency locked the facility down, restricting all inmate movement out of an abundance of caution due to concerning intelligence it received.

The lockdown will continue until ODOC has determined it is appropriate to resume normal operations.


Visitation is canceled until further notice at the facility.

Press release

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) urges parents to maintain a safe sleep environment for children. Oklahoma has some cause to celebrate, as new data shows that the infant mortality rate in Oklahoma has dropped nearly 8% from 7.7 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2017 to 7.1 in 2018.

In Oklahoma, SIDS remains one of the top three causes of infant mortality. It ranks the third highest behind disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight, and the top cause being birth defects. This is slightly higher than the most recent national data from the CDC, which shows SIDS to be the fourth leading cause of infant death in the United States.

James Craig is a public health social work coordinator at OSDH with 12 years of experience in working with Oklahoma families.

“I have never met a parent who didn’t want the best for their children, only parents who didn’t have the best information or resources they might need,” said Craig. “In my role as infant safe sleep coordinator for the OSDH, I do my best to get the most accurate and up-to-date information out to parents so they can make the best decisions for their children.”

The OSDH encourages all parents to maintain a safe sleep environment for their children, and promotes the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on safe sleep.

The most important steps for parents to remember include:

• Put your baby on their back to sleep every time for bedtime and naps.
• Use a firm sleep surface.
• Avoid tobacco exposure during pregnancy and after birth.
• Place the infant in their sleep space alone with no loose bedding or other objects.
• Breastfeed when possible (this has been shown to reduce risk of SIDS by 50%).
• Practice room-sharing with an infant but not bed-sharing.

SIDS is often used as a general term referring to all unexplained infant deaths. However, it has a very specific definition when identified as the cause of infant death. SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant younger than one year of age that remains unexplained after a complete investigation that includes an autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the infant’s and families’ clinical histories..SIDS is part of the broader category of sudden unexplained infant death, which also encompasses the categories of undetermined infant deaths, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. Undetermined infant deaths have no known cause, but are often preventable due to the presence of evidence of an unsafe sleep environment.

For more information, please visit using the keywords “safe sleep,” call James Craig, Infant Safe Sleep Coordinator at (405) 271-4480 ext. 56931, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Friday, 04 October 2019 23:46

Sooners Set for World Championships


Submitted byd Patrick Dunn | Communications Assistant, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department


NORMAN - Three University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics alumni and head coach Mark Williams are set for competition at the 2019 FIG World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, beginning Monday.


2019 alumnus Yul Moldauer and 2017 graduate Allan Bower are part of the six-man traveling team with USA Gymnastics. Williams will be serving as Team USA's head coach at the world meet. Moldauer is set to compete on the five-man competition team while Bower will serve as the alternate.


"Our first goal is to qualify the team to the Olympic Games,” said Williams. “We're going to have to be in the top 12 for that to happen and hopefully we'll qualify into the team finals which would put us in the top eight. We're hoping to have another really good World Championships setting us up for the Olympic year."


Moldauer, a seven-time individual national champion at OU and 18-time All-American, took 12th in the all-around and fourth in the floor exercise final at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. In 2017, the Arvada, Colo., native brought home his first Worlds' medal, taking bronze in the floor exercise event final.


Also competing at the World Championships for Team Jamaica will be 2015 OU alumnus Michael Reid. Reid, an NCAA champion on pommel horse for the Sooners in 2015, will be making his first World Championships appearance for the Jamaican National Team after securing his dual-citizenship last year and making the senior national team.


The men's meet will begin Monday morning at 3 a.m. CT with the team qualifying round. The championships will stretch throughout the next week, with the team final on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 6:45 a.m. The men's all-around final is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11 at 9 a.m. and individual event finals will be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-13, at 9 a.m. and 6 a.m., respectively.


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