TULSA — The fight for Veronica is over.
“Veronica is only 4 years old and has lived almost her entire life in front of the cameras,” Dusten Brown said, breaking down in tears as he read a prepared statement. “I love her too much to have her in the spotlight like this.”
With his wife and attorney by his side, Brown and Cherokee Nation assistant attorney general Chrissi Nimmo announced Thursday morning that they will not pursue any appeals or further litigation in the protracted custody battle for Brown’s 4-year-old daughter.
Last month, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a non-Native South Carolina couple that had been attempting to adopt the girl since birth, assumed physical custody of Veronica after the Oklahoma Supreme Court dissolved an emergency stay allowing her to remain with her biological family while the appeals process played out.
“One day, you’ll read about all of this,” Brown said, addressing his daughter. “I hope you never, ever forget that I love you. My home is always your home.”
Brown still faces contempt of court and custodial interference complaints in South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley canceled the extradition warrant out for Brown, but the Nowata resident could still potentially be arrested if he ever visits the Palmetto State.
At Thursday’s press conference, an emotional Nimmo called upon the Capobiancos to help end the outstanding litigation.
“Show some mercy and drop the contempt charges,” she said. “It is within your control. Do whatever is within your power to get the criminal charges dismissed. We’re asking you to do the right thing.”
In addition to the end of the Cherokee Nation and Brown appeals, a federal lawsuit filed in South Carolina on Veronica’s behalf by the Native American Rights Fund, National Congress of American Indians and other national Native American organizations has been dropped. Officials with those groups declined to comment.
Prior to assuming custody of Veronica, the Capobiancos had publicly promised to allow Brown to be a part of his daughter’s life, although they would not elaborate on what that role would be.
On Thursday, Nimmo confirmed there had been communication between the father and daughter since she left Tahlequah 17 days ago, but out of respect for privacy for both sides, would not provide details on the frequency or method used.
“I hope you honor that commitment,” Nimmo said, directly addressing the Capobiancos. “You have witnessed the love she has for her father. It is important that you nurture and honor that bond.”
TULSA — The fight for Veronica is over.
- Local News
Sherman Alexie Jr., self-professed “res” American Indian, dislikes casinos, mascots and Oklahoma for stealing his favorite basketball team.
Northeastern State University welcomed the celebrated poet, writer and filmmaker to campus Wednesday, and the audience was treated to 90 minutes of witty and unblinking observation from the perspective of an American Indian all-too-familiar with life on a reservation.
Alexie, named one of the 21st Century’s top 20 writers by The New Yorker, delivered what was essentially a standup monologue to a packed house in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. Some of Alexie’s best-known works are “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” a book of short stories, and the film “Smoke Signals.”
Woman serving time for burning baby seeks judicial review
A Cherokee County mother sentenced to 17 years in prison for burning her 14-month-old baby with an iron is asking for a judicial review.
Court records show Jodi Leann Rock, 21, requested a copy of her judgment and sentence, and this week filed an application for a judicial review. Copies of her request have been submitted to a judge and the District Attorney’s Office.
Concerns expressed as SB 573 awaits House vote
With an Oklahoma Senate bill now awaiting a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, some parents are voicing concerns about the futures of rural K-8 schools in Cherokee County.
Senate Bill 573 calls for a commission to establish charter schools throughout the state. A charter school receives taxpayer funding, but functions independently. They can be founded by an array of interests, including teachers, parents, universities and nonprofits. In Oklahoma, tribal entities can establish charter schools.
Man gets suspended sentence for possession
A 37-year-old Webbers Falls man has been given a suspended sentence on drug-possession charges.
Dusty Kayl Skaggs was charged with endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine earlier this year after he and 43-year-old Misty Hayes Paden, of Muskogee, were arrested during execution of a search warrant.
NSU students observe Earth Day
Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).
Rural smallholders host annual show
More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.
Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop
Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.
Communiversity Band performs Sunday
Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
“Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
“We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”
Council concerned over reports of land contamination
Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.
Council tables cell tower permit apps
Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.
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