The Norman Transcript

Headlines

September 19, 2013

Guilty verdict reached in trial

NORMAN — After four hours of deliberating Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland County jurors found Russell Lee Blackwood guilty of first-degree murder and recommended a sentence of life without parole.

The jury found Blackwood guilty for the murder of Gary Norton Sr., 55, of Lexington, after participating in a drive-by shooting on Easter Sunday of 2012. Blackwood was charged along with Richard Dean Lansdale, 38, of Purcell, who has not yet had his day in court on the matter.

Formal sentencing for Blackwood is expected to be in six weeks by District Judge Tracy Schumacher. Lansdale is expected to go to trial over the matter at the end of October.

Tears of joy and relief ran down the faces of many of Norton Sr.’s family members. Norton’s son and daughter-in-law, sister and brother-in-law were in the courtroom day after day listening to the testimonies and viewing the evidence presented. Many of them hugged the prosecuting attorneys and couldn’t thank them enough.

“I think they did a very good job,” Gary Norton Jr. said. “We could not be more happy with what you guys have done.”

Norton Jr. said he is preparing a letter to read to the judge and Blackwood on the day of formal sentencing.

Lead prosecuting attorney Jennifer Austin told the family she thinks the jury listened to the facts and felt life without parole was appropriate. The jury also learned after the verdict was read that Blackwood had four other pending cases against him in other counties.

It also was left up to the jury Wednesday whether they believed Samantha Taitano was an accomplice to the crime, which they did not.

Taitano was in Lansdale’s vehicle with the two men the night of the drive-by shooting and was the only witness who testified about what happened in the car that night.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Junior Police Graduation First Junior Police Academy graduates

    The room went dark and a slideshow flipped through photos of children participating in the first Junior Police Academy as kids chattered excitedly, remembering what they had done over the past two weeks. Norman Police Department hosted ...

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet crashes with 116 on board

    OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Nonprofit raises $3.9M-plus for new center

    The Center for Children and Families, a United Way of Norman partner agency, announced Thursday that it exceeded its public fundraising goal of $3.5 million and raised more than $3.9 million to complete the purchase and renovation of a ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Bad year won’t dampen peachy tradition

    PORTER — A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.” Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Union Market opens this fall on campus

    Shelves are being stocked as employees buzz around like busy bees and activities are in the last stages of prep as the University of Oklahoma anticipates the opening of its new eatery Union Market, located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union in ...

    July 26, 2014

  • OU football recruit under investigation in assault case

    An attorney representing Joe Mixon confirmed Friday evening that the highly-recruited Oklahoma running back is being investigated by Norman Police in connection with an incident in which a woman suffered multiple facial fractures early ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Campus Cornerassault

    Norman Police responded to an alleged aggravated assault at the Campus Corner Pickelmans Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning....

    July 26, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border

    KIEV, Ukraine — Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the ...

    July 26, 2014

  • McCain: Arizona execution ‘torture’

    TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture....

    July 26, 2014