Oklahoma court upholds murder convictions, life sentences
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the murder conviction and life sentence of a man who killed another man in front of the victim's adult son.
The court rejected appeals Thursday from Mosi Dennis that included lack of evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, improper dismissal of a juror and improper admission of crime photographs.
Dennis was convicted in the 2015 death of 51-year-old Kenneth Walker in Midwest City.
Prosecutors say Dennis pulled Walker's 30-year-old paraplegic son off a hospital bed in his bedroom and was beating him while trying to steal money and painkillers when Walker entered the room and was shot.
Separately, the court upheld the second-degree murder conviction and life sentence of Adrian Luis Walker in the choking death of Florencio Jimenez at an Oklahoma City car wash.
Oklahoma County seeking lawsuit against opioid manufacturers
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma County has joined over 50 other cities and counties in the state to prosecute drug companies for damages caused by the opioid epidemic.
All three county commissioners voted Wednesday to approve a contract with the Fulmer Sill law firm to sue opioid manufacturers, The Oklahoman reported.
The decision comes at the end of the state's trial against consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson, which alleges the New Jersey-based company and its subsidiaries created a public nuisance by aggressively promoting the highly addictive drugs. Oklahoma could receive up to $17.5 billion in abatement costs.
Oklahoma already reached a $270 million settlement with Oxycontin-maker Purdue Pharma and an $85 million deal with Israeli-owned Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
"The staggering nature of the problem created by the opioid crisis is imposing costs on all of us," said Commissioner Kevin Calvey, who led the initiative for the county. "And it's important that we look out for the taxpayers and try to recover some of those costs from those who knew or should have known the impact of their actions."
The opioid crisis has increased the county's costs in policing, jailing and providing treatment services to residents, he added.
"The total cost to our community, not just government but our community — it's over $379 million. That's a staggering figure," Calvey said. "For Oklahoma County, it's over $23.5 million."
Fulmer Sill lawyers said they expect to pursue "tens of millions of dollars" for the county. The county's lawsuit will target some of the same opioid companies the state focused its efforts on, which include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and others.
Calvey noted that should the county win its case, he hopes all funds would be devoted toward mental health and substance abuse treatment and diversion programs.
Fulmer Sill attorney Alex Yaffe said they intend to act swiftly and file the petition within the next week in Oklahoma County.
Lawyer Matt Sill said he expects the county to work together with Oklahoma City, which is also involved in litigation against opioid manufacturers.
2 dead, 1 hurt after shootout outside Tulsa gym
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Authorities in Tulsa say two people are dead and a third person wounded after a gunfight that took place in the parking lot of a fitness center.
Tulsa Police Capt. Dave Roberts says the shooting happened Wednesday night outside of the VASA Fitness center in midtown Tulsa. Roberts says people in at least two cars exchanged gunfire in the parking lot, striking at least three people.
Roberts says two people were killed and the third person suffered injuries that don't appear to be life-threatening.
Roberts says police believe everyone involved in the shooting knew each other and that no bystanders were struck.
No names have been released.