The Norman Transcript

Local news

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
Local news
  • Norman firefighter performs Heimlich maneuver on Moore man after he chokes on food

    What started out as a normal night out for a Moore couple ended with them being thankful a firefighter was in the right place at the right time....

    July 22, 2014

  • 18-year-old killed; 72-year-old man, young boy injured

    Those involved in the wreck Friday near 136th Avenue and South Sooner Road were identified Monday by Oklahoma City police. Logan Rosado-Santoni, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after the 4:30 p.m. multi-vehicle wreck. Two others were ...

    July 22, 2014

  • New AP program to begin in Norman

    NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Board of Education learned about Advanced Placement Capstone at a regular board meeting Monday....

    July 22, 2014

  • Moore City Council paves way for Sam’s Club location

    MOORE — The Moore City Council approved a $5 million bond Tuesday to be repaid with sales tax and utility revenues. “A good amount of street improvements needs to be done,” Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said. “This will be paid for with ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Woman charged with assault A Norman woman was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon Monday after admitting that she threw a knife at someone, court records show. Jamie Marie Rietz, 32, was charged in Cleveland County ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Jeremy Ryan Sellers, 20, second-degree burglary and malicious injury to property under $1,000 in concert and together with Ryan ...

    July 22, 2014

  • County want details of insurance coverage

    Cleveland County commissioners will formally request particulars on their insurance coverage from the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma Self Insurance Group....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart journeys from volunteer to director at Women’s Resource Center

    Kristy Stewart walked into the Women’s Resource Center as a volunteer 30 years ago. The volunteer work soon turned into a staff position, and that one into another and another and so on. Along with the new responsibilities came her ...

    July 21, 2014

  • garnervisit1 Family, friends recall Garner’s Norman roots

    Flowers started arriving at the James Garner statue at Main Street and Jones Avenue Sunday morning after residents learned of the famed actor and Norman native’s death Saturday night in California. Norman resident Roy Hamilton, who grew ...

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • James Garner James Garner dies at 86

    NEW YORK — Few actors could register disbelief, exasperation or annoyance with more comic subtlety....

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos