AM NewsBrief: May 10, 2023
This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, May 10, 2023.
Death Row inmate Richard Glossip was scheduled to be executed next week until the U.S. Supreme Court intervened. So the execution is off for now, and there’s more to come. In the meantime, a rally was held in Oklahoma City in support of a new trial for Glossip that featured daytime TV celebrity Dr. Phil.
Several dozen people turned up at the Capitol to hear from Glossip’s family members, defense team, legislators – and from Oklahoma native Phil McGraw, who expressed his concerns about whether justice is being properly served in this case.
"…But it is not an error-free system. We’re here today to make sure Richard Glossip at least gets a fair trial. I think he should be set free, personally," said Dr. Phil. "But he at least deserves a fair trial, and has never had a fair trial."
Glossip was convicted for orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot in the late 90s that left motel owner Barry Van Treese dead. But there are significant questions about whether Glossip’s prosecution was handled properly, and if he was actually behind the crime.
Voters in 22 Oklahoma counties cast ballots in local elections Tuesday.
In Norman, nearly 70% of voters approved an increase of their hotel room excise tax from 5% to 8%. The tax will only be paid by visitors staying in Norman, not residents.
For the second time since 2016, voters in Moore said no to a curbside recycling program, with nearly 55% of the vote against. The program would have cost residents nearly four dollars more per month, with an increase of 2% every year for five years.
In Garfield County, a 0.3% sales tax increase to expand and renovate the county jail was resoundingly voted down. The increase would have funded 82 additional beds and 16,000 more square feet to ease overcrowding of the jail. Voters rejected a similar proposal last fall.
After hearing nearly three hours of public comment, the Oklahoma City Council voted not to approve an application to build 655 homes on an area residents say is environmentally important.
Councilwoman Nikki Nice represents the plot of land in question. She says among concerns about flooding, increasing traffic and overwhelming local schools, the Garber-Wellington Aquifer was key to her decision.
Residents say the development will hurt the underground water store feeding their wells, but the developer says they’re just using water issues to fight affordable housing.
Nice says she wishes the city had its own assessment on how development affects groundwater.
"Our city should also have an opinion, quite frankly, about what this is and what this can or cannot do as far as complementing or supporting a development.," said Nice.
The vote on the rezoning application ended in a tie after several council members recused themselves. That means the land won’t be rezoned for Ideal Homes's proposed development.
A bill that could help protect children who are victims of sexual abuse or sex trafficking is advancing through the Legislature.
Republican Representative Marilyn Stark’s House Bill 2210 passed its fourth reading unanimously on Tuesday. The bill would allow courts to depart from mandatory minimum sentencing for minors convicted as adults for offenses they committed against a person who is found to have sexually abused or trafficked the minor within 90 days of the offense.
The bill also allows the court to suspend portions of the sentence or to send the minor to the juvenile division for further proceedings.
Earlier versions of this bill allowed for a window of one year between the instance of sexual abuse or trafficking and the criminal offense committed by the minor.
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