Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 31, 2013

Woman gets life for murder, assault

TAHLEQUAH — A Muskogee woman who with her husband was accused of brutally killing two people and stabbing another man with knives last August was handed several life sentences Wednesday.

Jessie Renee Leppke-Redford, 46, was given the life sentences for two first-degree murder charges and a separate charge of assault and battery with a deadly weapon. A robbery charge was dismissed under the deal.

Leppke-Redford and her husband, 43-year-old Tracy Lee Redford, are accused of bludgeoning to death Leppke-Redford’s sister, Angela Findlay, and Findlay’s uncle, Jesse Catron. Their bodies were discovered in a home on Louellen Street last August after police were asked to do a welfare check there. Police said the throats of the two victims had been cut.

Authorities were already looking for the Redfords in connection with an assault that occurred hours before the two bodies were found. After the discovery, police began to consider the Redfords as persons of interest, and eventually suspects, in the double murder. The Redfords were later found and arrested at a Tahlequah store.

Affidavits filed in the case allege Leppke-Redford admitted she killed her sister, and said her husband was responsible for Catron’s death.

Leppke-Redford entered a no-contest plea, and in related filings, indicated she did not contest the state’s ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt she “maliciously killed [Findlay and Catron] ... and assaulted and battered Ernest “Lee” Norfleet with a deadly weapon.”

Authorities believe the assault on Norfleet took place at a Tahlequah motel sometime after the Redfords killed Findlay and Catron. Norfleet was allegedly lured to Tahlequah to meet Leppke-Redford, and when he arrived at the motel, the two suspects began to stab him.

Norfleet was able to escape and seek medical attention. Police said the attack was caught on a surveillance camera.

They believe the Redfords wanted to take Norfleet’s vehicle, but were only able to get away with his phone.

District Attorney Brian Kuester signed off on the plea with Leppke-Redford Wednesday afternoon in front of District Judge Darrell Shepherd. Kuester said prosecutors spoke with family of the victims before agreeing to the life sentences, which carry the possibility of parole after she serves 85 percent of her sentence.

“What we considered was that this is an 85-percent crime; she’s not eligible for parole until she’s 85 years old,” said Kuester. “It satisfied the family, which is one concern, and it’s in the best interest of the public, because it protects the public from harm from this defendant. It certainly offers the community a great deal of protection. It’s a guaranteed 38 years she’ll be off the street and can’t do any harm to the public.”

Kuester said Leppke-Redford could have otherwise faced life without parole, or even the death penalty, if she had gone before a jury.

Tracy Redford has been given a court-appointed attorney and is set to be back in Cherokee County District Court March 27. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Kuester said he could not comment on whether an offer has been made in the case against Tracy Redford.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later
Stocks