Oklahoma coverage

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Oklahoma City

One person was fatally shot inside the downtown Oklahoma City hotel early Wednesday, and a suspect is in custody, the Associated Press reported. Officers responding

Officers responding to reports of a shooting found the victim in the hallway on the eighth floor of the hotel in the city’s Bricktown entertainment district. The person’s name has not been released. A woman at the scene was questioned by officers and arrested on a first-degree murder complaint, according to AP.

Online court records do not show formal charges have been filed in the shooting. The event appears to have been the result of an undisclosed domestic argument, AP reported.

Tulsa

A trial date has been set for a Tulsa man charged with the firstdegree murder and shooting with intent to kill in the fatal shooting of one Tulsa police officer and the wounding of another, the Associated Press reported.

Court documents show a June 7 trial date was scheduled Monday for David Anthony Ware, 33, and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf as he stood silently in court. Ware is charged in the June 29 shooting which killed Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson and wounded Officer Aurash Zarkeshan. The shooting occurred during a traffic stop, according to AP.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Ware faces additional charges of drug possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. Codefendant Matthew Hall, who also pleaded not guilty, faces a January trial date on charges of accessory to murder and accessory to shooting with intent to kill, AP reported.

Norman

A Norman man pleaded guilty Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for his role as a money launderer in a Nigerian romance scam which defrauded multiple victims, including elder Americans, of millions, according to a news release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Afeez Olajide Adebara, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Gregory K. Frizzell. Adebara’s sentencing hearing is set for February 3. In his plea agreement, Adebara admitted he knew the money involved in the financial transactions involved the proceeds from unlawful activity. He further said he knew the financial transactions were designed, in whole or in part, to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership or the control of the proceeds of the unlawful activity, according to the release.

From 2017 through November 2019, Adebara knowingly concealed the proceeds of a romance scam operation by moving money among several bank accounts opened with various aliases using fake passports and other fraudulent identification documents to obscure the source of the funds and identities of the co-conspirators, according to the release.

Adebara coordinated with overseas coconspirators who had assumed false identities on online dating websites and social media platforms with intent to defraud victims. Adebara opened multiple accounts using fraudulent identities then provided the accounts and routing numbers to his coconspirators. Adebara was charged November 13, 2019, along with nine co-defendants. John Oluwaseun ,31 formerly of Norman, pleaded guilty June 15, according to the release.

Tulsa

A member of the Muscogee (Creek) National who was convicted in the state court of sexually assaulting a child will be retried in federal courts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in July Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against Native Americans in parts of the state, the Associated Press reported.

Jimcy McGirt’s federal trial starts this week in Muskogee. Jury selection was scheduled for Wednesday. U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III has ruled prosecutors can admit evidence McGirt allegedly wrote a letter, which apparently has been lost, while in prison to his now exwife which said the “devil made him do it,” according to AP.

Heil also ruled evidence of McGirt’s past convictions for child molestation should not be presented to the jury. Prosecutors wanted to present evident McGirt pleaded guilty in 1989 to forcibly sodomizing two children ages 5 and 8. McGirt has been in the custody of the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office since his release from prison, AP reported.

McGirt v. Oklahoma involved the boundaries of the Creek Nation. The U.S. Supreme Court determined a large swath of Eastern Oklahoma remains Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation. As a result, either the federal government or the tribal nation has jurisdiction of crimes committed by or against Native Americans, not the state, according to AP.

Statewide

For nearly 100 years in Oklahoma, Democrats controlled the legislature in large part with lawmakers from rural parts of the state, the Associated Press reported.

However like much of the nation, the number of rural Democrats in Oklahoma has been declining steadily in the past 20 years as a rural-urban political divide grew deeper and Republicans took a firmer grasp on Middle America. Tuesday, the party transition in Oklahoma became complete when the last Democrat from a rural district lost his reelection bid while the GOP picked up five more house seats to extend its advantage 82- 19, according to AP.

The Democratic Party’s increasing competitiveness in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa area have provided some encouragement to party leaders, but its metropolitan gains so far have not kept up with rural losses. About three quarters of Oklahoma’s 4 million residents live outside the state’s two largest metropolitan areas, AP reported.

“Oklahomans want growth, freedom and conservative government, and their election of the biggest Republican majority in state house history will delivery it,” Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said in a statement. “It was encouraging to make gains statewide, from picking up all rural seats for the first time in state history to adding representation in the Oklahoma City area.”