Randall Ray Woodall, 62

Born February 26, 1959

Died September 22, 2021

Jessie Madalyn Bingham, 96

Born May 11, 1925

Died September 22, 2021

Terry Jean Roach, 70

Born March 26, 1951

Died September 19, 2021

Virginia L. Cothran, 86

Born April 16, 1935

Died September 19, 2021

Ricky Jake Hamon, 51

Born December 31, 1969

Died September 18, 2021

Margaret A. Johnson, 70

Born August 8, 1951

Died September 18, 2021

William Kenneth Bailey, 76

Born August 27, 1945

Died September 18, 2021


Our death notices and obits are always free to the families and funeral homes.


Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 7:15 AM

Captain Jody Moore has been appointed chief of the Muskogee Fire Department. Moore has more than 20 years of service to the City of Muskogee as a firefighter, captain, assistant director of the HAZMAT team and a member of the Muskogee Police Department Special Operations Team.

Moore holds degrees in occupational safety and health fire science and has served as a HAZMAT specialist for the Oklahoma Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue team and an OSHA instructor with ICTC.

He replaces former chief Derrell Jones, who retired after 36 years with Muskogee.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 7:12 AM

The Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation program is hosting its first controlled hunts this fall on new preserve land. The inaugural controlled deer hunts will be designed for a limited number of Cherokee Nation elders, veterans, youth, and at-large Cherokee citizens who reside outside the state of Oklahoma.

The 2021 controlled deer hunts will be held on Cherokee Nation’s new 4,000-plus-acre Sequoyah Hunting Preserve north of Sallisaw in Sequoyah County, with a select number of Cherokee elders, Cherokee veterans, Cherokee youth, and at-large Cherokee citizens from outside Oklahoma being selected by a draw of qualifying applicants to be held during this year’s Cherokee National Holiday.

Cherokee Nation citizens who qualify for the controlled hunt can apply using the Gadugi Portal at Applications are available now and the deadline to apply is Sept. 3. Results of the draw will be announced Sept. 6, with successful applicants being notified via email and on the Gadugi Portal.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 7:14 AM

State legislators have filed legislation to reverse Senate Bill 658, which prevents school boards from implementing life-saving COVID protection measure.

The Safe at School Act (House Bill 2967), authored by Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, would restore local control for communities across Oklahoma by repealing parts of SB658.

“Senate Bill 658 cripples the ability of local school districts to act quickly when needed,” Provenzano said. “Needs across Oklahoma are different, and schools need to be able to make decisions about safety based on local data rather than waiting for the governor to declare a state of emergency.”

Though it seems improbable that legislation signed last session would be overturned in a special session. However, hope from across the state border has encouraged the lawmakers to keep pushing.

“If Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson can change his mind in order to save lives, surely Oklahoma’s elected leaders can do the same,” State Rep Andy Fugate said. “Now is not the time to dig our heels into highly political positions. We need to work together to empower local leaders to do what is best for our children.”

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Monday, August 9, 2021, 9:28 AM

The Cherokee Nation’s Registration Office is closing its in-person assistance as of today through the month of August and will reopen on September 1.

Staff will continue to work on pending applications during this time.

Closure of the in-person services during this window is due to rising COVID-19 cases. The temporary suspension of in-person services will also allow staff time to sanitize and address the backlog of citizen applications.

A secure vault will be placed in the lobby of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex for those who wish to drop off citizenship applications. Citizens may mail in applications via postal service or the secure drop off; however, all in-person citizenship applications and photo ID cards will remain suspended until September 1, 2021.

For questions, call Registration at 918-458-6980 or email

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Friday, August 6, 2021, 8:46 AM

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that Patrick Dwayne Murphy, age 52, of Vernon, Oklahoma was found guilty by a federal jury of murder – second degree in Indian country, murder in Indian country in perpetration of kidnapping, and kidnapping resulting in death. The defendant was acquitted on one count of kidnapping resulting in death. The jury trial began with testimony on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 and concluded on Thursday, August 5, 2021 with the guilty verdicts. The defendant faces imprisonment for life for the crimes the jury found he committed.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence that the defendant, two days prior to the murder, stated he would kill George Jacobs. Later, on August 28, 1999, the defendant found George Jacobs and Jacobs’ friend, M.S., traveling on a road in rural McIntosh County. The defendant chased after M.S. and George Jacobs in his vehicle and ultimately forced M.S. and George Jacobs to stop. After stopping George Jacobs and M.S., the defendant, along with two others, attacked George Jacobs. After beating and kicking Jacobs, the defendant cut the victim’s throat with a knife and cut off the victim’s penis and testacles. The next day, deputies of the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department and agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation apprehended and arrested the defendant.

The case was originally tried in McIntosh County, Oklahoma where the defendant was convicted and received the death penalty. However, after the United States Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the case had to be retried in federal court because the murder happened within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Reservation and the defendant was a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe

“I am thankful Patrick Murphy has been held accountable for the vicious killing of George Jacobs,” said Acting United States Attorney Christopher Wilson. “Justice was interrupted for a period of time due to the jurisdictional challenges raised by the defendant, but justice was not thwarted. Through the excellent work of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office, the evidence was presented to the jury and the guilty verdicts were returned. I know it has been a tumultuous time for the family of Mr. Jacobs, but they can now rest assured the defendant will pay for his crimes.”

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Thursday, August 5, 2021, 7:15 AM

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Wednesday passed the Durbin Feeling Native American Language Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill named in honor of the late Cherokee linguist Durbin Feeling.

Senators Brian Schatz, (D-Hawai‘i) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the bill which was initially proposed by former Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) in 2020. Udall initially proposed the legislation on the 30th anniversary of the Native American Language Act signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

The act would direct the president to review federal agencies’ compliance with the Native American Language Act requirements and make recommendations to improve interagency coordination in support of Native American languages. It would also authorize a federal survey of Native language use and the unmet needs of language-revitalization programs every five years. The surveys would allow Native communities and Congress to improve targeting of federal resources for Native American languages.

The Committee also approved the “Native American Language Resource Center Act of 2021” Wednesday.

“Our Cherokee language is the soul of our people. It is the source of our pride and our strength as a tribe,” said Howard Paden, executive director of the Cherokee Nation Language Department. “The investments our tribe is making in our language programs are meant not only to preserve the Cherokee language today, but to encourage us as Cherokee people to embrace our language and to use it for generations to come. It is vital that federal leaders continue to acknowledge the efforts not just of the Cherokee Nation, but of tribes throughout this country, to grow and strengthen our native languages. Durbin Feeling was committed, heart and soul, to those efforts, and naming this legislation in his honor is very fitting.”

Feeling, who passed away in August of 2020, is recognized as the largest contributor to the Cherokee language since Sequoyah.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 9:04 AM

Cherokee Nation Health Services is seeing a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 90 percent of new COVID cases occurring among unvaccinated patients. Just last week, 600 new cases were reported in the tribal health system, the highest number recorded since January of 2021 and an increase of more than 80 percent compared to the prior week’s cases.

In order to care for the rising number of COVID patients requiring hospitalization, Cherokee Nation is temporarily suspending elective surgeries and re-activating its COVID-19 surge plan for W.W. Hastings Hospital, which will increase in-patient room capacity by approximately 50 percent.

“The current swell in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations is driven by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus according to our Cherokee Nation Health Services and Public Health teams, both of which are working around the clock to address this situation,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The Delta variant accounts for over 80 percent of the tribe’s new COVID cases. A continued increase in cases could mean our health system is required to redirect health care staff from outlying health centers to assist in caring for hospitalized COVID patients at W.W. Hastings Hospital.”

The Delta variant is now the dominant strain of COVID in the U.S. after first being diagnosed in the country in March, and is highly contagious. For example, in an environment where no one is vaccinated or wearing a mask, the average person infected with the original strain would infect 2.5 people, but with the Delta variant in the same environment, that one person would infect up to four people.

Studies have shown that children and adults under 50 are 2.5 times more likely to become infected by the Delta variant.

“Transferring patients has become difficult due to little capacity in hospitals across the region,” said Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Medical Director Dr. Roger Montgomery. “After the surge in December 2020, this is the last thing that we wanted. Re-activating the surge plan and temporarily suspending elective surgery will help save lives by ensuring that critical care efforts are maximized – but vaccination is our best weapon against this virus.”

COVID-19 vaccinations are available at all Cherokee Nation health center locations for anyone, regardless of tribal citizenship or residency, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday excluding holidays. Walk-ins are welcome, or appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-539-234-4099.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 7:07 AM

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced federal grand juries sitting in Muskogee recently completed two separate July sessions and returned twenty-eight (five under seal) felony indictments, including six superseding indictments.

The Eastern District of Oklahoma has experienced a dramatic increase in Indian Country cases for federal prosecution due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of McGirt v. Oklahoma and recent Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rulings. These opinions determined the reservations of the Five Civilized Tribes were never disestablished by Congress, and therefore, the United States has primary federal jurisdiction to prosecute major crimes committed by—or against—Native Americans occurring within the 26 counties of the Eastern District. In response to the caseload rise, a second grand jury was empaneled in the Eastern District in the month of July.

From the two grand jury sessions in July, twenty-three indictments were publicly filed and five remain sealed pending arrest of the charged defendants. All but three of the unsealed charges involve crimes arising out of Indian Country. Four of the unsealed indictments are for murder or involuntary manslaughter, six are for sex crimes, and the balance contain allegations of assault with a dangerous weapon or resulting in serious bodily injury, assault with intent to commit murder, kidnapping, burglary, firearm violations, and robbery. The three unsealed non-Indian Country indictments involve possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and firearm violations.

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Monday, August 2, 2021, 11:23 AM

Muskogee County Treasurer Robyn Boswell was appointed as interim County Court Clerk by county commissioners just now.

Boswell will fill the position until a special election next year.

The seat opened up after longtime clerk Paula Sexton retired last Friday. Her second deputy, Joe Church, was also in the running for the top spot.

The commission will now accept applications to fill the treasurer seat. The applications can be submitted until Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Commissioners will narrow down the applicants on Friday and appoint a new treasurer on Monday.

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Monday, August 2, 2021, 7:40 AM

Two people were killed and one critically injured early this morning in a four-car wreck on the Muskogee Turnpike, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Emmanuel Lopez, 35, of Coweta and Betty Summers, 82, of Lavaca, Arkansas died in the wreck. Jenifer Summers, 53, of Charleston, Arkansas was critically injured and admitted in poor condition to a Tulsa hospital.

Drivers of two other cars werre not injured.

The patrol is investigating what happened and what caused the wreck.

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Friday, July 30, 2021, 9:28 AM

The City of Muskogee hopes to spruce up local neighborhoods and is willing to help home owners with their projects. The city will be accepting applications for assistance with home repairs from residents in designated areas, in an effort to help make homes safer and increase curb appeal, beginning August 2.

The plan is a multi-year program targeting specific geographical areas each year. The city is currently accepting applications in Project Area 10, which includes the area that extends from 24th Street to 32nd Street and from Military Boulevard on the north side to Border Street on the south side.

Qualifying exterior home repairs include new roofs, foundation repairs, paint and siding, replacement of doors and windows, weatherization and new driveways. The maximum amount of funding is $20,000 per structure and will be awarded in the form of a grant. The city will provide contractors and oversee the construction. To qualify, applicants must own and occupy the home, meet income requirements and currently keep the home clean and well maintained. Applications may be rejected if the cost to repair the home exceeds the appraised value of the home or if the residence has current code violations. All applications will be ranked based on an established points systems and awarded contingent on funding availability. Commercial and rental properties are not eligible.

For a complete list of guidelines, including a map of the eligible areas, or to obtain an application call (918) 684-6232 or visit and click on the Planning department tab. Applications will be accepted until October 4 or until funds have been depleted.

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Friday, July 30, 2021, 8:53 AM

The Oklahoma Festival of Ballooning will be held at Hatbox Field, August 27 to August 29. This is the third year for Muskogee to host this event, after taking a year off for the Covid-19 pandemic. The event is expected to bring dozens of hot air balloons to town.

“We are excited to bring this event back to Muskogee,” said Mark Wilkerson, Muskogee Parks and Recreation Director. “We are looking forward to being able to host events again and can’t wait to see what the balloon crews have in store.”

The three-day event will feature tethered balloon rides, food trucks, helicopter rides, children’s activities, live music, a 5k run and parachute jumpers. Major highlights of the event include nightly balloon glows, morning flights on Saturday and Sunday and a fireworks finale on Sunday night. RV camping is available at Hatbox Field for $25 per night. Daily admission to the festival is $10 per car and all ages are welcome.

For more information on the Oklahoma Festival of Ballooning visit or the Facebook page @OkieBalloonFest.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021, 4:10 PM

Robyn Boswell

Muskogee County Treasurer Robyn Boswell has submitted her resume to county commissioner to be appointed by them to fulfill the remainder of Paula Sexton’s term until a special election next year. Sexton is retiring after tomorrow. Commissioners will appoint a new court clerk on Monday.

Sexton’s second deputy, Joe Church, has also submitted his resume.

Boswell has worked in the legal field for 32 years, and after her election two years ago, promptly turned around, organized and streamlined the treasurer’s office, putting in place a staff to keep the office running efficiently.

“I have managed a four county District Attorney’s office with 76 employees and eight different units,” she said. “My intentions are to bring a fresh face to the court clerk’s office and new ideas in areas of the office that are very much needed. Some of my goals are to update technology and to create acceptable business practices by implementing new policies and procedures that will result in accessibility, accountability, efficiency, and above all, oversight, which is long overdue.”

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Thursday, July 29, 2021, 2:03 PM

Russell Griffith

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that Russell Garvis Griffith Jr., age 47, of Muskogee, Oklahoma was found guilty by a federal jury of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country, sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country, and sexual abuse in Indian Country. The jury trial began with testimony on Monday, and concluded yesterday with the guilty verdicts. The defendant is facing imprisonment for not less than 30 years to life.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence the defendant sexually abused the girl repeatedly and continuously for approximately fourteen years, beginning when she was nine years old. The victim testified she often objected to the abuse but was physically and emotionally abused by the defendant in response. In addition, the victim testified the defendant exercised near complete control over her life, forcing her to drop out of school as a teenager, preventing her from spending time alone with friends or other family members, and requiring her to live in a rented house across the street from his own after she became an adult so he could monitor her activities. Despite the victim telling her mother and others about the defendant’s abuse over the years, she was not believed, and the abuse continued, the trial showed. When she was twenty-two years old, the defendant forcibly raped the victim in her home, which resulted in her becoming pregnant. Approximately one week after the birth of defendant’s child, with the help of a supportive relative, the victim fled the defendant’s home with her newborn baby in the middle of the night and reported the abuse to law enforcement.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma ultimately prosecuted the case because the defendant is a member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe and the crime occurred in Muskogee County, within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The guilty verdicts were the result of an investigation by the Muskogee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Thursday, July 29, 2021, 12:51 PM

Michael Tomblinson

Michael Tomblinson, 40, of Muskogee will serve his life sentence for molesting a little boy, after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled today that his conviction and sentence were valid.

Tomblinson appealed his February 2020 conviction, alleging the court shouldn’t have allowed the victim to testify behind a screen and that it shouldn’t have allowed adults to recount what the child told them.

The appeals court ruled that both practices were proper in the case, denying his appeal.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021, 8:46 AM

State Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, sent a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt asking him to request businesses suspend mandatory vaccine requirements for their employees until they have discussed the issue with the Legislature and governor.

In the letter, Hardin further requested that before or after the upcoming special session to address congressional redistricting, the governor ask legislative leadership to conduct joint meetings with legislators and members of the healthcare profession on this issue.

Hardin is working to draft legislation that would order businesses to assume responsibility for any adverse effects on the employees required to receive mandatory medical procedures that are experimental and not fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The available vaccines for COVID-19 are, however, approved by the FDA.

Meanwhile, Muskogee County has been declared a county with a high transmission rate for the virus.

Though new variants have shown the ability to infect fully-vaccinated people, the resultant illness is generally significantly milder for those who are fully vaccinated, while more severe and deadly for those who aren’t. The new variants have also proven to be more infectious to children, who are dying at a much higher rate than with the initial wave.

A recently posted legal opinion from the U.S Justice Department finds that federal law doesn’t prohibit public agencies and private businesses from requiring Covid-19 vaccines. That finding could give cover for businesses to require their employees to be inoculated.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 7:35 AM

Front Row L-R - Ruben Little Head Jr., President Dr. Ferlin Clark, Ice Cube, Daice Marshall, Les Wahsise Jr., Coach Ruben Little Head. Back Row L-R- Corbain Lonebear, Stephen Moore, Bernadine Fisher, Cayden Pawpa, Derek Factor, Jacob Scroggins, Blaine Baldridge, Kenneth Keahna.

Bacone College basketball players were invited as special guests to Ice Cube’s Big 3 tournament, a 3-on-3 basketball league featuring world champions, all-stars, and hall of famers, held in Las Vegas on last Saturday.

The anonymous donor who generously sponsored Bacone’s trip said he wanted to inspire Bacone College students to pursue their dreams and refuse to allow anything to hold them back.

The donor told the 13 basketball players who were able to attend that “this isn’t about me and it’s not about your coaches, or even about these famous people you’ve been around all day. It’s about you. And this can belong to you. All of it. You go out there and get it by working hard.”

President of Bacone College Dr. Ferlin Clark said the invitation was a blessing for the students and the historic college.

“We were to be invited as special guests of Ice Cube and grateful for the love shown to our students,” he said. “We’re also excited about the news we received before we came home that bigger things are in the works for us. What an incredible experience for our athletes.”

Men’s Head Basketball Coach Ruben Little Head said the impromptu trip was a great opportunity to get to know his team better, and for them to build camaraderie as well.

“This experience has definitely motivated my players and inspired them to believe that opportunity and success is attainable no matter what background you come from,” Little Head said. “It was inspirational for me too. Thank you to our sponsor, and to Ice Cube and the Big 3 Tournament for having us.”

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 9:43 AM

A Muskogee-area teen girl was doxxed and swatted while on Discord, according to Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office.

Discord is an online communication service. Doxxing is releasing someone’s personal information online and swatting is someone using that information to call authorities and fake an emergency situation at the victim’s house so that law enforcement shows up in force.

A spoofed number called Muskogee 911 and said someone was being held against their will at the girl’s Wainwright-area home. Deputies arrived and surmised that the girl had been the victim of a swat from someone upset at her on a Discord server.

“He had traced her IP address somehow and got her address,” Lt. Skylar Green said. “When it gets to that point, it’s time to change all your passwords, check your firewall and take other precautions.”

Several people have been killed, injured or otherwise died as a result of the swatting practice nationwide.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 7:05 AM

Several Oklahoma House Democrats have now released statements calling for Gov. Kevin Stitt to reinstate the emergency declaration for COVID-19. The statements follow several schools, including Broken Arrow, Owasso, and Stillwater, announcing policies to not quarantine students who have been exposed to the deadly virus.

“Needs across Oklahoma are different, and one thing is clear - we need local control returned and we need it now. Our little ones cannot get the vaccine, and they are getting sick in larger numbers with the Delta variant,” said State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “We must be able to take the steps necessary to protect the lives of those who cannot protect themselves.”

The virus and its new delta variant, which has shown to be more communicable and infects children at higher rates than previous strains, have surged in Oklahoma over the past several weeks, bringing thousands of new cases and deaths just as it seemed early vaccinations were slowing the spread.

“We are failing in our responsibility to keep our children safe, which is the most basic responsibility of government,” said State Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa. “So next year, rather than quarantine those who have been exposed, we will have to revert to virtual schooling again because our school buildings will have become hazardous environments.”

Stitt has remained adamant that he will not declare a state of emergency.

“This is about personal responsibility. It’s about freedoms,” he said. “I believe that’s where Oklahomans line up on this. This is something you should make those decisions in consultation with your medical professionals.”

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Monday, July 26, 2021, 12:02 PM

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa is getting a head start on seasonal hiring by hosting two career fairs on Tuesday, July 27, from 2–7 p.m. and Saturday, July 31, from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Both events are located inside the Sequoyah Convention Center and are open to the public.

Seasonal, part-time and full-time positions are available. Many applicants will be interviewed and hired on the spot. Additionally, open interviews and on-the-spot hiring will also be available every Tuesday beginning Aug. 17 from 3–8 p.m. at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa for those who cannot attend.

Compensation is based on experience. Available key roles include personnel in banquet services, front desk, production cooks, pool attendants, security, environmental services and housekeeping staff.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa offers a comprehensive benefits package, including health, life, vision and dental insurance; a matching 401(k) plan; and paid vacation and sick leave. In addition to annual performance pay adjustments, employees are also eligible for annual or quarterly monetary incentive awards. A full list of open positions can be found at All applicants must be 18 years of age or older to apply.

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Monday, July 26, 2021, 7:34 AM

Joseph Berry

Agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children Unit arrested 37-year-old Joseph Lance Berry of Cherokee County on multiple child pornography charges.

The case originated earlier this month when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded a cyber tip they received from an internet service provider to the OSBI. The OSBI ICAC Unit opened an investigation upon receiving the tip. Based on their investigation, Berry was identified as the individual possessing hundreds of pornographic photographs and videos of children.

Berry is a lifetime aggravated sex offender from a 2012 conviction of lewd acts to a child under sixteen years of age. Berry is actively on probation through the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Today he met ICAC agents at his probation office in Cherokee County at which point he was taken into custody without incident. He was booked into the Cherokee County Jail on charges of aggravated possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and violation of the Oklahoma computer crimes act. If you suspect a child is being sexually exploited, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children immediately at 1-800-THE-LOST or You can also contact the OSBI Internet Crimes Against Children Unit at (800) 522-8017 or

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Saturday, July 24, 2021, 10:16 AM

Robert Youngblood

Robert Youngblood, a man in prison for escaping prison, has escaped from Jess Dunn Correctional Facility in Taft, according to numerous law enforcement officials.

Youngblood, 41, has 12 previous convictions. He is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

If you see him, call police.

UPDATE 11:17 A.M.: Youngblood is in custody, according to Sheriff Andy Simmons.Youngblood is captured two miles west of the prison.

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Friday, July 23, 2021, 8:59 AM

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that Kendall Len Burgess, age 22, of Henryetta, Oklahoma was found guilty by a federal jury of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country, and abusive sexual contact in Indian Country. The defendant was acquitted on one count of assault by striking, beating, or wounding in Indian Country. The jury trial began with testimony on Monday and concluded on Wednesday with the guilty verdicts. The defendant is facing imprisonment for not less than 30 years to life.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence that the defendant was romantically involved with the minor victim’s adult sister, with whom he shared two children. During the spring of 2019, while living with the victim’s family, the defendant perpetrated various sexual acts on the seven-year-old victim. The child’s disclosure of the sexual abuse led to state court charges being filed against the defendant. The defendant failed to appear to answer those charges and was apprehended by law enforcement after high-speed chases through both Tulsa and Okmulgee counties.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma ultimately prosecuted the case because the defendant is a member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe and the crime occurred in Okmulgee County, within the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation, and within the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Sentencing will be scheduled following completion of the report. Burgess was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal pending the imposition of sentencing.

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Friday, July 23, 2021, 8:54 AM

After one of the hardest years in retail history, Oklahoma’s locally-owned shops and restaurants are celebrating Weekend of Local this Friday and Saturday.

Main Street Muskogee is sponsoring a downtown Muskogee scavenger hunt to promote our shops, restaurants and cultural venues. All you have to do to participate is pick up a card at one of the local merchants and visit at least 7 places. Get your card signed and then turn it in at your last stop to be entered into a drawing for a gift basket full of Oklahoma products from our downtown shops and restaurants.

Participating shops are Kristie’s Scrub Shop, Broadway Market, Hattie’s House, Poppy’s Garden, Pinion Creek, Hoopes Hardware, The Festive Nest, Queen City + Co., and Okie Outfitters.

Participating restaurants are Mattie Jane’s on Main, Maxine’s and Max’s, Queen City + Co., The Break, American Pie, Pisano’s, Club Lunch International, Station 1 and Muskogee Brewing Co., Harmony House (Fri. only) and Momma C’s (Friday for curbside only). There’s also the Muskogee Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning!

For some creativity, stop by Blue Rabbit Pottery and Art Studio. You can also visit the Depot Green or take a selfie at downtown murals, the water tower at Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, or with the Girl Scout outside of Three Rivers Museum!

Check shop hours and deals on their websites or Facebook pages. Three Rivers Museum is closed Friday and Saturday for the Bass Reeves Western History Conference. If you are traveling in Okahoma this weekend, check out to find opportunities across the state.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021, 7:35 AM

Volunteers will distribute Go Fresh food boxes at 3 p.m. today at the Muskogee Civic Center. Traffic will enter the back parking lot of the Civic Center, off of 4th Street and exit onto 5th Street.

Boxes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, until they are gone.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021, 9:11 AM

Muskogee Fire Chief Derrell Jones announced that he will retire at the end of July, after more than 36 years of service to the Muskogee community.

“It was my destiny to be a fireman, it has been unbelievable and I am truly grateful for God giving me the opportunity to show what I am capable of, and who I am as a person,” Jones said.

Jones’ career with the Muskogee Fire Department began in 1985 when he answered a help wanted ad looking for people to work at the fire station. His first job with the department was that of a firefighter, then a driver, before being promoted to captain, to training officer, to assistant fire marshal, to marshal and eventually to chief.

“My best memories of working with the Muskogee Fire Department are when I was hired by Fire Chief Marshal Beard in April of 1985 and then when I was hired by City Manager Mike Miller as fire chief in August of 2019,” Jones said.

Jones developed a passion for investigating fires. His curiosity was sparked as a child, after losing his grandmother in a house fire. The fire was ruled as arson, but a perpetrator was never identified or charged with the crime.

“Sometimes I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I loved digging through a fire scene in the wee hours of the morning and figuring out the origin and cause,” Jones added.

The city has begun the process of searching for someone to fill his shoes and hopes to have a new fire chief in place soon.

The city is planning a reception in his honor on Friday, July 30.

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Monday, July 19, 2021, 7:08 AM

Rudolph Dedmon

Rudolph Lorenzo Dedmon, 59, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with felony sexual abuse of a child under 12, according to documents filed with the case.

Dedmon is accused of using his hands and penis to rape the girl in multiple instances, she revealed to investigators.

Dedmon has previously been convicted of numerous drug and theft-related felonies.

He is also currently facing felony child abuse charges for allegedly hitting and choking the girl. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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Monday, July 19, 2021, 6:52 AM

Clifton Dean Youngblood, 36, of Muskogee drowned at 3:20 p.m. yesterday on Lake Tenkiller, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Witness told the patrol that Youngblood jumped off a boat at bluffs on the lake and started to swim, but them struggled, went under and did not resurface.

He was pronounced dead at Burnt Cabin boat ramp by Cherokee Nation EMS after the Cherokee Nation Marshal dive team recovered his body around 6:30 p.m., the patrol reported.

He was not wearing a personal flotation device.

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Friday, July 16, 2021, 7:44 AM

Aaliyah Wilson may be living in Indiana now and playing in major arenas, but the WNBA star got her start shooting hoops in her backyard in Muskogee.

Muskogee will honor her on Saturday during a welcome home celebration where the mayor will present a proclamation declaring July 17 “Aliyah Wilson Day” and present her with a key to the city.

“We are blessed as a community to see Aaliyah in the WNBA,” said Mayor Marlon J. Coleman. “We want it to be a very special day for her.”

Wilson, who graduated from Muskogee High School in 2016, went on to play college basketball at Texas A&M, before landing a first-round draft spot on the Seattle Storm. Seattle then traded her to the Indiana Fever, where she made her WNBA debut after being sidelined for a short time with an injury. During her time at Muskogee High, she led the team to three state tournament appearances, was named a McDonald’s All-American and a Jordan Brand Classic All-American. She also participated in the USA Olympic Trials in 2016 and 2017.

Saturday’s events will kick off at 1 p.m. with a presentation by Coleman and remarks by Wilson. There will be food, music and entertainment. The day will conclude with a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. The event will be held at Rotary Park at the corner of Elgin and 24th streets. The public is invited.

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Thursday, July 15, 2021, 8:30 AM

Robert Wayne Higgins

Robert Wayne Higgins, 54, of Muskogee has been charged in Muskogee County District Court with sexual abuse of a child under 12, according to documents filed with the case.

Higgins is accused of raping the child in 2012, when she was five years old, and in 2016, when she was nine. An affidavit filed with the case alleges that Higgins forced the girl to have sexual intercourse with him “multiple times.”

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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