Jury reaches decision on Ariz. inmate's punishment
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Jurors have reached a decision on the punishment for an Arizona inmate who kidnapped and murdered a retired Oklahoma couple.
After nearly four days of deliberation, the federal panel announced they had decided whether John McCluskey should be executed or sentenced to life in prison for the August 2010 slayings of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla.
The verdict is to be read in court Wednesday afternoon.
McCluskey was convicted in October of murder and numerous other charges.
Much of the sentencing phase focused on whether he was capable of controlling his impulses and making reasoned decisions when he kidnapped and killed the couple.
The defense argued that he has a low IQ and has suffered a hard life of abuse, brain damage and addiction. Prosecutors called him a remorseless, cold-blooded killer.
Feds: 1,600 Oklahomans enroll in federal plan
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Federal officials say more than 1,600 Oklahoma residents have successfully signed up for health insurance coverage in the first two months of the troubled HealthCare.gov website.
A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says about 15,000 Oklahomans submitted applications to the new insurance marketplace. They were applying for coverage on behalf of nearly 31,000 people - for example, themselves, their spouses and children.
The 1,327 Oklahomans who successfully enrolled last month was nearly four times the 346 who managed to sign up in October, when the federal website's launch was plagued with problems.
Chad Austin, who oversees about 60 navigators in Oklahoma who help people use the federal website, says the enrollment process has been going much smoother in the past several weeks.
OBAMA ADVISER-KEYSTONE XL
New Obama adviser will not work on Keystone XL
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says a new senior adviser to President Barack Obama will recuse himself from deliberations on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
John Podesta, a former chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, has spoken out against the pipeline. Podesta founded the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and has spoken out against the pipeline.
His hiring cheered environmental groups, who oppose the Canada-to-Texas pipeline as a major contributor to global warming.
Some Keystone supporters, including North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, expressed alarm, calling Podesta's inclusion in Obama's inner circle a possible death-knell for the pipeline, which backers say would create jobs and boost North American energy independence.
The White House says Podesta suggested that he not work on Keystone because his views are well-known.
Okla. revenue collections continue to fall short
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma finance officials say collections to the main operating fund used to pay for state government continue to trail the official estimate, a trend that could lead to budget cuts for state agencies if it continues.
Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger (DOR'-fling-ur) released figures on Wednesday that show collections to the state's general revenue fund trail by nearly 8 percent the official estimate upon which the state budget is based. So far for the first five months of the current fiscal year, collections have trailed the official estimate by about 6.5 percent.
If collections continue to trail the estimate and a revenue shortfall occurs, Doerflinger could order cuts to agency budgets, but he says it's too early to predict whether that will happen.
OKC woman gets prison time for false tax return
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A former bookkeeper at an Oklahoma City electrical contracting company has been sentenced to eight months in prison for filing a false tax return in connection with embezzling more than $140,000 from the company.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma Sanford Coats announced Wednesday that Renea Windham, of Oklahoma City, must also serve three years of supervised release following her prison sentence.
Windham earlier acknowledged embezzling more than $140,000 from Allstate Electrical Contractors from 2010 to 2013 and failing to claim more than $60,000 of that money on her 2012 federal income tax return.
Windham was ordered to repay more than $143,000 in restitution to Allstate and $26,000 to the IRS.
Windham's lawyer says he was disappointed with the sentence but understood the court's rationale.
MOORE TORNADO-POST OFFICE
Postal services resume at Moore post office
MOORE, Okla. (AP) - More signs of normalcy are returning to residents of Moore more than six months after the deadly tornado.
Services have resumed at the Moore Post Office, which was heavily damaged in the May 20 twister. According to The Norman Transcript, the post office reopened last week with P.O. box delivery and retail services.
Residents who cannot receive mail at their homes because of storm damage can still receive mail at a temporary site at 1600 S. Broadway Ave. or at a temporary modular unit at the Santa Fe Station in Oklahoma City.
Last week, a temporary medical facility opened in Moore, adding more services that had been missing since the EF5 twister devastated the town.
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