Weapons, phones, drugs found after Oklahoma prison fights

By KEN MILLER Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Department of Corrections officials said Wednesday that numerous weapons, cellphones and drugs have been found by investigators following a series of apparently coordinated fights at six state prisons that left one inmate dead, dozens injured and prisons statewide locked down.

"A lot of shanks ... broken broom handles, broken faucets, faucet heads that have a cord attached to them," according to department spokesman Matt Elliott. "The types of weapons inmates typically use and fight with."

Bobby Cleveland, director of the Oklahoma Corrections Professionals, an association for prison employees, said the fights had "to be a coordinated effort," noting they included minimum security lock-ups.

Cleveland said inmates can use contraband cellphones to coordinate attacks among prisoners at other facilities.

Elliott said all 24 state and three private prisons remain locked down indefinitely following the weekend fights at prisons in Vinita, Hominy, Sayre, Fort Supply, Lawton and Stringtown.

Elliott said inmate Chad Burns, 27, was killed in fighting at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City.

Burns was serving a 15-year sentence after being convicted in 2016 in Tulsa County on weapons, assault and battery, robbery and burglary charges.

Elliott said 36 inmates and several prison staff were injured, and while four inmates remained hospitalized Wednesday, none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

No prison staff was hospitalized.

Elliott said the fights were gang-related and racially motivated, but declined to identify the gangs involved.

"No, and I don't know that we will," Elliott said. "We don't want to spread that information and touch off more violence and add notoriety to those gangs. When you do that, you're building their street cred."

The total number of inmates involved in the fighting has not been determined, according to Elliott.

"We're still investigating as far as the numbers go," Elliott said. "It's going to be a lot of people involved," noting the 36 inmate injuries and one death.

During the ongoing lockdown, all inmates are kept in their cells where they are provided food, water, medicine and offered the opportunity to shower, the department said in a statement.

All visitation is canceled until further notice.

"This is in no way intended to penalize the thousands of state inmates who did not participate in this violence," interim DOC Director Scott Crow said in the statement. "As soon as we believe it is safe to return to normal operations, we will do so efficiently and safely."


Woman sentenced in death of Oklahoma man in Kansas

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) — A woman who was a fugitive with her son for two years after an Oklahoma man was killed has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison.

Diana Bohlander was sentenced Tuesday to 59 months in prison for her role in the death of 64-year-old James McFarland, of Tulsa, whose body was found in April 2017 in southeast Kansas.

Bohlander's 23-year-old son, Ty, was given the same sentence Sept. 3.

The Joplin Globe reports the Bohlanders were living in a van with McFarland when he was killed. Investigators believe McFarland suffered blunt force trauma when he and Ty Bohlander fought. Diana Bohlander was accused of helping her son conceal the crime.

The Bohlanders were fugitives until Ty Bohlander was arrested in March in Santa Monica, California. His mother turned herself in the next month.

Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com


DA: Oklahoma officer justified in Molotov cocktail shooting

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma prosecutor says a Muskogee police officer acted lawfully when he wounded a man who tried to throw a flaming Molotov cocktail at the suspect's mother and the officer.

Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge said Tuesday Lt. Josh Jenkins was "legally justified" when he twice shot 32-year-old Darnell Cox on Sept. 4. Cox was treated for wounds in the left hip and left upper arm and charged with first-degree arson, assault and battery with a deadly weapon and other counts.

Jenkins and two other officers were investigating shoplifting reports when they went to Cox's house in Muskogee, about 120 miles (195 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City.

Cox was shot as he prepared to throw an improvised incendiary device made of a flammable liquid and a burning paper towel.