Oklahoma man dies after altercation with police in Hugo

HUGO, Okla. (AP) — A man who was shot with a stun gun and pepper spray after an altercation with law enforcement outside an Oklahoma convenience store early Monday has died, authorities said.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said it's looking into the death of Raymond Stapp. The agency said in a news release that Hugo police officers and a Choctaw County sheriff's deputy responding to a report of a shoplifter encountered Stapp, 47, walking away from the store.

After Stapp was "combative and resisted arrest," the officers used a stun gun and pepper spray on Stapp to subdue him and get him in handcuffs and leg shackles, the OSBI reported.

Officers then noticed Stapp was not breathing and began to administer CPR, the release stated. Stapp was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The OSBI is investigating the incident and will submit its report to the local district attorney to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

One of the Hugo police officers involved in Monday's incident was Billy Jenkins, who was placed on paid leave earlier this year after he and another officer shot and wounded three children after opening fire on a man in a truck who was suspected of robbing a restaurant, according to Scott Wood, an attorney hired to represent the city.

Wood said Jenkins returned to work after District Attorney Mark Matloff notified the department that neither Jenkins nor detective Chad Allen would face charges in connection with the shooting.

A review of that shooting obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request shows a panel of five Hugo police officers and the Choctaw County sheriff found neither detective violated department policy.

Hugo is located about 180 miles (290 kilometers) miles southeast of Oklahoma City.


'Joe Exotic' awaits sentencing on murder-for-hire charges

CHICKASHA, Okla. (AP) — A former Oklahoma zookeeper who was found guilty on murder-for-hire charges will be sentenced next month.

Joe Exotic, whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is being held at the Grady County Jail. He was found guilty in April of plotting to kill a woman in Florida and for violating federal laws intended to protect wildlife, according The Oklahoman. His sentencing is set for Jan. 22.

Maldonado-Passage was convicted of federal murder-for-hire charges, falsifying wildlife records and for violating the Endangered Species Act for killing five tiger cubs.

The intended target was Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary in Tampa.

Maldonado-Passage claims Baskin has been trying to force him out of business for years.

In November 2017, Maldonado-Passage paid a zoo worker cash to kill Baskin. Instead, he took the money and ran. In a second attempt, he hired another hit man who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, prosecutors said.

"Just like follow her into a mall parking lot and just cap her and drive off," said Maldonado-Passage in a recording shown at trial.

Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Scott Palk to sentence Maldonado-Passage to a prison term within the sentencing guidelines — 27 years to 33 years and nine months.

Defense attorneys are asking for leniency, pointing out that their client is 56 and has significant health issues that make a prison term within the sentencing guidelines a potential life sentence.


Stitt's top tribal adviser steps down, cites gaming dispute

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's top adviser on tribal issues announced her resignation on Monday and accused the governor of creating an 'unnecessary conflict' with the tribes over casino gambling.

Lisa Billy, a former Republican lawmaker and Stitt's secretary of Native American Affairs, said in her resignation letter that Stitt's position on the compacts poses a threat both to the state's economy and its relationship with the tribes.

"You have dismissed advice and facts that show the peril of your chosen approach and have remained intent on breaking faith with the Tribes, both by refusing to engage with the compact's language and, more recently, by suggesting you would displace our Tribal partners with private, out-of-state commercial gaming operators," the letter states.

Stitt said in a statement he was grateful for Billy's service and he remains committed to working collaboratively with the tribes.

The governor caught many tribal leaders off guard this summer when he announced in a newspaper editorial that he wanted to renegotiate the compacts.

The two sides have been locked in a dispute ever since about whether the compacts expire on Jan. 1. Stitt claims they do, but the tribes maintain triggers have been met for the compacts to automatically renew.