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.
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Jackson takes prize
Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
“The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
“We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.
Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive
They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”
Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer
An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.
TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria
Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.
Local man hit with assault, burglary charges
Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of breaking into a motel room, tying a rope around a man’s neck and stabbing him repeatedly with a syringe.
Jimmy Dale Briggs Jr., 33, is charged with first-degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of threatening to perform an act of violence.
Boy whose mom scolded deputies in trouble again
Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 15-year-old theft suspect Monday night after he allegedly assaulted his brother.
Deputy Kim Novak said authorities were dispatched to a home and ultimately took the teen into custody. While there, they also discovered items that had been reported stolen, including a bed and several tools.
Novak said the teen is the same boy who has previously been found to be in possession of stolen items.
Plane crash victims recovering
Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.
Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel
Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.
Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail
A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.
Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault
A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.
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