Crime and Justice (71)

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By Cody Johnson

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A 33-year-old former Newcastle teacher and assistant football coach turned himself into authorities Tuesday morning after a warrant was issued in McClain County for his arrest.

Jared Feroli is facing felony sexual battery charges after he was accused of touching a former female student 16 years or older in a lewd and sexual way according to court papers filed last Friday.

Authorities said the incident occurred December 13, 2013 and was reported by two school custodians, according to court papers. Court papers say the custodians happened upon Feroli's room after school hours when they noticed the door was locked and the lights off. After the custodians unlocked the door, Feroli came from the back of the classroom and blocked the entrance. They said a female student was the only person present with Feroli in the classroom.

The female student told investigators "she put a book away in Jared's closet and when she turned around Jared was there and they started making out," according to court papers.

Feroli is set to appear in court for the first time on Friday. He is out on $5,000 bond. He resigned from Newcastle Public Schools on May 31.

In civil court, the girl's family is suing Feroli and Newcastle School District for $10,000 or more according to court documents.


Thursday, 18 September 2014 16:58

NPD makes headway in shooting in Bradford Place

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By Darla Welchel

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Newcastle Police Department recently released information on the shooting that took place on August 23 in Bradford Place IV.

Police Detective Kevin Morrissey said dispatch received a call at 6:34 a.m. that morning from the home owned by Richard Henry Finch III of shots fired and a robbery inside Finch's home.  

Multiple Newcastle PD officers arrived on the scene moments later along with assistance from the Lighthorse Police, Morrissey said. Finch gave police a description and partial names of two Asian males, who he said shot him and tried to rob him.

Morrissey took over the case and questioned the victim at OU Medical Center.

"I went and spoke to the victim at the trauma center at Presbyterian OU Medical Center, where he was being treated for a gunshot wound to his arm and chest. When he was shot, he curled in and the bullet entered into the right arm and exited out his right chest."

"The victim knew these two gentlemen previously, and he allowed them into his home. He owed them $40 for drugs. When they saw he had more money, they tried to rob him of all his money. When he refused to hand over his money to them, he was shot, and they fled the scene." 

With little more than a rough description of the car – a black older model BMW – and incorrectly spelled names of the two suspects, Morrissey began a 19-hour search for answers, he said.

"Originally, all [Finch] could tell us was he was shot by a Phuoc and a Han," Morrissey said. "He did not know how to spell the names, but he thought they may hang around a certain area in Oklahoma City." 

Morrissey started following leads, and with the help of OKCPD, soon located the black BMW, and the driver - Phuoc Cong Do, 23. Do admitted to being at Finch’s home and for the attempted robbery, but denied that he had anything to do with the shooting. He also refused to give up the name and whereabouts of the second suspect.  

Do was booked into the McClain Co., jail on charges of accessory to a shooting with intent and robbery. When located later by Oklahoma City police, Do said, "I didn't shoot Ricky. I asked him if he was OK."

Do said he was looking at his phone and didn’t know that Chanraphathep had a weapon. However, Finch reported that at the time of the shooting he remembers hearing Phuoc yell, "Shoot him in the knee." 

"We later released information to news channels and received information, which we followed up on, and the victim, through a photo lineup, identified the shooter as Hansana Chanraphathep," he said. "We currently have a warrant for him for the robbery. He is described as 5'5" Asian male, 120 pounds, brown eyes, black hair and was born in 1986." 

If anyone has any information leading to the whereabouts of Chanraphathep, they are asked to contact the Newcastle PD at 37-5277 or their local law enforcement office, Morrissey said.


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By Darla Welchel

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An attempted child abduction has Newcastle Police and the school district on alert, and parents are more than just a little shook up.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, a little after 10 p.m. police were notified when a nine-year old boy while walking his dog in the 2900 block of NW 33rd street was approached by a black or dark blue SUV – possibly a jeep Cherokee. The passenger, a white male in his mid-twenties, wearing a yellow shirt got out of the truck and said, "Come on boy," said NPD Detective Kevin Morrissey.

The young man immediately ran home yelling prompting the vehicle to speed off, he said. The boy did not get a look at the driver nor could he tell if there was anyone else in the vehicle.

This report came after a similar one a few weeks ago. A father and son were walking to school when an older man pulled up along side of them and started telling them that his dogs like to be petted by kids.

"At this point, we are not treating this one as an abduction attempt, but we are still following up on it," Morrissey said. "The father had met the man previously when the older man was walking his dogs."

The NPD contacted the school district to make them aware of the incidents, which prompted Superintendent Tony O'Brien to send out a school-wide text making parents aware of the incidents and asking them to be vigilant when it comes to the safety of their children.

O'Brien said in his text that, "the district will be taking steps to ensure the safety of our students. These events have occurred in two different neighborhoods here in our community of Newcastle. I am asking that each of you remain very vigilant about the safety of the children living in your household and in the surrounding neighborhoods."

Morrissey concluded, "We take these things very seriously, and we are following up on them."


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By Darla Welchel

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Are you the type of person who jumps in whenever a need arises? Do you have the desire to help out your neighbors or community in an emergency?

Have you ever considered joining the Newcastle Community Emergency Response Team - or CERT for short? Then now is the time to get involved.

The City of Newcastle will be holding a CERT training course over three consecutive Saturdays in September, said Emergency Manager Jon Tankersley. On Sept. 13, 20 and 27, citizens looking to become part of the Newcastle CERT team can receive training free of charge. Classes start at 9 a.m. and last until 5 p.m. each Saturday except the last one, which will end around 1 p.m.

Space is limited, so people need to register online at the Oklahoma Homeland Security website by Sept. 10, he said. That website is Click on the Training Calendar at the top center of the page; find Newcastle and select that link.

"We already have eight signed up, but we can take up to 30," Tankersley said. "If they miss the online deadline, we will accept and register them at the first class."

In order to become a certified member of the team, participants must complete all the classes. Some of the topics that will be covered will be:

   Introduction, Disaster Awareness

•   Disaster Fire Safety Techniques

•   Disaster Medical Operations

•   Light Search and Rescue Operations

•   Team Organization and Management

•   Terrorism and CERT

"Participants can learn how to take care of themselves, their families, their neighbors and their neighborhoods in case of an emergency," Tankersley said. "It is a very good course, free of charge and they will receive approximately $80 worth of equipment when they complete the course."

The class is open to ages 12 years old and up, but a parent or guardian must accompany all minors, he said.

The Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security CERT program was developed because of the need for a well-trained civilian emergency work force. These teams assist the government by responding during disaster situations where the number and scope of incidents have overwhelmed the conventional emergency services.

For more information, contact Jon Tankersley or Johnny Wingate at 387-2922 or visit


Wednesday, 20 August 2014 17:34

Newcastle Police aide county sheriff

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By Darla Welchel

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Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir was certainly singing the praise of Newcastle Assistant Police Chief Gary Boggess when he found himself in a high-speed car chase last Friday.

After reaching speeds in access of 130 mph, the suspect crashed a $90,000 stolen Mercedes sports car and attempted to flee on foot. Assistant Police Chief Boggess, with the help of PHP Trooper Pitman, chased him for one half mile before apprehending him, Weir said. 

Around 8:20 a.m. on August 15, Weir said he received an OHP bolo for a stolen pearl white Mercedes SL convertible, which was just seen heading north on I-44 near the Chickasha tollgate.

“I was traveling south on I-44 when I observed a white Mercedes SL550 northbound at approximately the 100 mile marker,” he said. “I caught up with the vehicle and ran the tag displayed, which showed not in file meaning it was stolen.”

The sheriff called for backup but pulled up next to the car to get a look at the driver for identification purposes, he said.  As he pulled up next to the Mercedes, the driver, later identified as Aaron Christopher Rhodes, motioned to him as if asking if the sheriff wanted him to pull over.

“Being the only unit at the time, I shook my head no and fell back. Rhodes slowed to about 60 mph and continued northbound,” Weir said. 

When backup arrived, Weir had reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle and “engaged” his emergency lights and sirens. This action prompted Rhodes to accelerate reaching speeds over 120 mph. 

“My vehicle topped out at 120 mph, and Rhodes was pulling away from me very quickly,” he said. “Assistant Chief Boggess was had been monitoring radio traffic and was north bound on I-44 around mile marker 108 when Rhodes passed him in excess of 130 mph.

“Boggess said he was a little nervous, because there was a curve coming up and Rhodes’ vehicle was drifting, and he was afraid the suspect was going to hit heavy traffic.” 

Rhodes drove the Mercedes into the rear of a gray Silverado pickup. He lost control of the sports car slamming it into the center cable barricade where is came to rest more than 200 feet away, Weir said. 

That is when Rhodes attempted to elude arrest by trying to run away. But Boggess and the trooper got their man and Rhodes was arrested in Grady County, he said. 

The Mercedes was searched at the scene, where it was confirmed as the car stolen from the Lawton area, Weir said. Also, Newcastle Master Patrolman Holden found a Visa debit card and a social security card in Rhodes’ pocket at the time of his arrest in the name of Jerry Dean Frewaldt.

“Lawton P.D. advised these items were taken during a second burglary and had been used the morning of the burglary,” he said.

Newcastle Police Department worked the accident, recovered and impounded the stolen sports car, Weir said. 

“I believe the facts demonstrate probable cause to charge the defendant with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, two counts of receiving and concealing stolen property, felony eluding a peace officer and speeding,” he said.



Wednesday, 06 August 2014 17:50

Fatal shooting in Blanchard

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By Darla Welchel

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Blanchard police were called to investigate shots fired at Gator's Deli early Wednesday morning, what they discovered had them calling for assistance of the McClain County Sheriiffs Department.

Sheriff Don Hewett made a statement that at 9:57 a.m. a call for assistance came in from the Blanchard Police Department on a possible homicide at 1235 NE 10th Street in Blanchard.

Hewett sent four deputies and two detectives to the scene in which they discovered a woman had been shot and one suspect had been taken in to custody, he said. Allegedly the man walked into the store and shot and killed his wife; the couple had been going through a divorce.

A Victim's Protective Order against the suspect had expired just12 days ago, Hewett said. He commented that both the suspect and the victim were well respected business members in the community. 


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The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is stepping up its search for clues in the death of a McClain County mother.

OSBI announced Friday it would offer a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the death of Rachelle Flowers, according to a written statement from OSBI.

Clinton Flowers, Rachelle’s husband, is also offering a reward up to $1,000.

McClain County Sheriff Don Hewitt hopes test results from DNA evidence found at the scene will yield some answers, he said.

McClain County deputies on a routine patrol Wednesday afternoon, April 9, found Rachelle dead, inside her home, after seeing an unattended pickup truck in a state of disarray in front of the house.

Two people were seen in front of the Flowers’ home the morning she was discovered, according to the report.

A white female was standing in the front yard around 11:30 a.m. and a white male with dark hair, between 6 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 5 inches, walked toward the house at some time in the morning, according to the report.

“These descriptions are based off of evidence as well as prior knowledge of previous circumstances, including people the victim knew,” Hewett said. “We have some leads but no suspects at this time.”

Investigators at the scene found evidence that caused them to label the death suspicious. OSBI was notified and joined the McClain County Sheriff’s Department in investigating the death as a possible non-accidental homicide. 

Rachelle had a son, 6, and was married for a little more than a month before her death.

Though the investigators have more evidence than when they started, they are now offering the reward because more information is needed to fill in the knowledge gaps, OSBI Public Information Officer Jessica Brown said.

Anyone with information about the two people of interest, or any other aspect of the case, can call the McClain County Sheriff’s Department at 40-527-2141 or the OSBI hotline at 800-522-8017.

“We’re trying to get closure for the family,” Hewett said. “We want to bring someone to justice.”


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Newcastle police arrested a convicted felon Wednesday, May 7, after he allegedly tried to shoplift more than $350 worth of merchandise from a local Walmart Supercenter.

Steven Beaty, of Moore, tried to push a shopping cart loaded with groceries and various clothing items out the front door of the store without paying for them, according to a police report of the incident.

When Walmart Asset Protection employee Lyndsay Stark tried to stop Beaty, he abandoned the cart and items, shoved her out of his way and ran out of the store, Stark said in a statement to police.

After Stark called police to report the loss, arresting officer Steve Edmonds pursued Beaty to a Dollar General across the street, Edmonds said.

Beaty fled into the store as soon as he saw the officer, but Edmonds pursued and arrested him.

After the arrest, another officer, C.S. Brooks, found a loaded, .45 caliber pistol behind a display case outside of the Dollar General. The gun was reported stolen from somewhere in Tuttle, according to the report.

Beaty admitted the gun was on him at the time of his arrest and that he had managed to hide it immediately after Edmonds first detained himbut before he was patted down and searched, according to the report.

Beaty told police he was not trying to steal anything from Walmart but that he was shopping, while waiting on his ex-girlfriend, Autumn Rose, to meet him at the store, he said.

Beaty was walking to the front of the store to see if Rose had arrived when Stark confronted him and her accusations of stealing scared him, causing him to run, according to his statement.

Beaty also told police a friend gave him the gun to use for protection against “the dudes” his ex-girlfriend sends after him and he did not know the weapon was stolen, according to the report.

Edmond’s report stated another man, whom Beaty identified as his friend, Luke Farrington, was initially detained at the Dollar General but was released after questioning.

Walmart is pressing larceny charges against the 31-year-old Beaty, who is also charged with carrying a firearm, a criminal offense for a felon, and knowingly possessing stolen property, according to the report.


Monday, 21 April 2014 15:42

SWOSU campus on lockdown after gunman reported

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Update - 1:04 p.m. 

The lockdown on the Weatherford campus of SWOSU has been lifted.

The lockdown was lifted at about 11:15 a.m. after authorities conducted a sweep for a reported gunman near Campbell Hall.

Additional officers remain on the campus as an added security measure, however all buildings and classes have returned to normal activity.

The main campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State Univeristy (SWOSU) is currently on a precautionary lockdown as officers search for a reported gunman.

At around 10:30 a.m. Monday, university officials sent out a campuswide alert stating that SWOSU's main campus in Weatherford was on lockdown after a gunman was reported in the Campbell building, home to the university's communications and theatre programs, as well as division offices for mathematics, along with the language and literature department. 

Campbell is located on E. Davis Street, across from residency halls, on the northeast corner of the campus.

Officers are currently searching the campus, however no shots have been reported. 

Friday, 18 April 2014 19:15

Wreck sends three to hospital

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Three people, including an infant, were sent to the hospital Friday afternoon after a driver blacked out and struck six vehicles on Main Street.

At about 1 p.m. Friday, April 18, a male driver in a red pickup blacked out travelling northbound near NW 10th Street, according to a preliminary report by Newcastle Police.

The driver accelerated, striking a vehicle occupied by a female driver and an infant child travelling southbound on Main in front of Main Street Florist, according to eyewitness accounts. The driver then went off the road into the parking lot in front of Newcastle Tag Agency, crashing through a metal pipe railing, striking an unoccupied vehicle across the parking lot of Garcia's Concrete.

The driver then struck a company truck before hitting a parked white SUV, rolling it over a railing and onto its side. The driver then came to a stop at the railing, according to police reports.

The driver of the first vehicle told authorities she had injuries on her side, however the infant was uninjured, according to police. Both subjects along with the driver were transported to area hospitals.

Traffic was reduced to one lane heading south for about 20 minutes following the wreck. Police officials declined to identify the victims or the driver. The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Police officials did not say if alcohol was a factor in the wreck.


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