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AM NewsBrief: April 7, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Friday, April 7, 2023

Oklahoma AG Says Conviction of Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip Should Be Vacated

Attorney General Gentner Drummond says Oklahoma should vacate the conviction of Richard Glossip in court filing Drummond issued Thursday.

Drummond doesn’t say Glossip is innocent. However, he argues there isn’t enough evidence for him to be executed for the 1997 slaying he’s been convicted for twice.

The move comes after the AG asked an independent counsel to review Glossip’s case.

Glossip was convicted of hiring an accomplice to murder his boss—motel owner Barry Van Treese.

He has been on death row for more than two decades. His supporters claim — and it appears Drummond now agrees – he was condemned largely by bad police work, ineffective defense attorneys and false testimony.

AG Drops Charges Against Rep. Terry O'Donnell

Attorney General Gentner Drummond is dropping all charges against Representative Terry O'Donnell and his wife.

The Catoosa Republican had been indicted on conspiracy charges by an Oklahoma County grand jury in 2021 after he authored and supported bills to allow his spouse to take over her mother's motor vehicle tag agency.

Drummond writes that he questions O'Donnell's judgement and conduct in authoring legislation that benefited his immediate family.

However, Drummond says previous prosecutors concealed their motives in investigating the O'Donnells. And that led to over-judicious pursuit of the case.

Stitt Confirms Project Ocean Is Back In The Running For LEAD Act Funds

As the deadline on the multi-million dollar incentive to bring a major company to Oklahoma looms, Panasonic, whose code name is Project Ocean, is in the conversation again. During a press availability yesterday, Gov. Kevin Stitt confirmed that Project Ocean is back.

"We’ve had a company that has applied for that LEAD Act funds. I'm not sure if it obligates them post that, or if there has to be a contract, so we’re still working through those details," Stitt said. "The good news is it’s a major company that feels like that they apply or they can qualify for that. ...That’s Project Ocean that has applied for that LEAD funds, yes."

The nearly $700 million in LEAD Act funding has been in limbo over the past year after Panasonic and, more recently, Volkswagen chose other locations to build electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants.

Lawmakers have set an April 15th deadline on the LEAD Act funds. If the money isn’t claimed by that date it will be returned back to the general revenue fund.

DA Seeks To Close Hughes County Jail

The newly elected district attorney of Hughes, Pontotoc and Seminole counties has recommended closing the Hughes County jail. D.A. Erik Johnson is wanting to shut down the jail due to unsafe conditions for both detainees and detention officers.

According to reporting fromOklahoma Watch, the jail has failed seven health inspections over the past four years. Inspectors found numerous violations such as detainees wearing torn clothing, sleeping on the floor in cells with leaking toilets and blocked emergency exits.

The jail is located in the basement of the courthouse, and it’s designed for 36 prisoners, but last year, there were nearly 12 times that number detained there pushing the facility well past capacity.

Johnson has proposed a plan to house detainees in nearby Seminole County. If the jail is shut down, Hughes would become the only county in Oklahoma without its own jail.

OKC Wants Public Input on Park Plan

Do you want to have a hand in shaping Oklahoma City parks?

The city is seeking public input on a nearly $70 million park improvement plan.

The improvements are being funded by MAPS 4 - a sales tax passed by voters in 2019 for a variety of projects throughout the city..

The Neighborhood and Community Parks project of MAPS 4 aims to make improvements to all 105 community and neighborhood parks in Oklahoma City.

Officials estimate they’ll be making around $69.6 million dollars in improvements.

City officials are hoping to use community input they gather this month to develop a master plan and assess current park conditions, accessibility or potential expansion needs.

There are six scheduled days in April for public comment meetings - also a survey is available for residents to take in both English and Spanish at maps4parks.com.

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