The Norman Transcript

June 14, 2014

Setting the stage for murder

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A murder trial for the second suspect in the stabbing death of a Cleveland County man continued Friday in District Judge Thad Balkman’s courtroom at the Cleveland County Courthouse. Friday’s evidence included photos of the home at 9305 Winston Way in Oklahoma City where the stabbing occurred.

Three have been charged in the stabbing death of 47-year-old Arthur Strozewski. The suspects were also charged with two counts of kidnapping for allegedly seizing Strozewski and his 14-year-old son and holding them against their will, using duct tape to detain them.

Charged in the death were Eddie Thompson, 35, Loretta Hawks, 35, and Sebastian Shepard, 19. Tuesday morning, a jury found Thompson guilty of murder in the first degree and recommended a life sentence.

Strozewski was stabbed more than 20 times.

Wednesday, Hawks’ trial began. She pleaded not guilty on two counts of kidnaping, one count of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree burglary.

Thursday, jurors heard the emotional testimony of Strozewski children, who were in the home at the time of the brutal attack on their father. Hawks had been living in the house with Strozewski and his children at the time.

When police arrived at Strozewski’s home on Aug. 31, 2012, they saw a blood-soaked Thompson come down the stairs and run out the back door of the home. Search teams later found him in the area, still wearing blood-soaked clothing.

Police also found Strozewski and his son duct taped in the upstairs bedrooms.

Detectives have testified the homicide occurred sometime after 3 a.m. and the daughter made a 911 call around 3:30 a.m., as well as a phone call to her mother, telling her mother that her brother had been tied up and her father was hurt.

During Hawks’ trial on Friday, photos taken by Sgt. Mike McBride, a crime scene investigator with the Oklahoma City Police Department, recreated for jurors the condition of the home at the time the crime scene was processed. Juxtaposed against the apparent normalcy of the rooms where the murder victim and his children lived and played was evidence of the brutal stabbing and the resulting blood trail of suspects trying to allude police.

McBride’s methodical documentation is part of the process he uses to preserve the details of the crime scene. McBride is a trained investigator for blood stain evidence and crime scene reconstruction. He attempts to determine the order of events during a crime through the careful study and documentation of evidence.

A blood-soaked sock found in the creek behind the house and a toilet seat with blood transfer scenes below an open window were among the evidence presented. The stains on the toilet were found inside a locked bathroom and the blood trail leading through the open window alluded to the attempted escape of one of the suspects.

EMS paramedic Jodi Ritchie testified about the last minutes of Strozewski’s life. Ritchie describe measure taken to patch Strozewski’s punctured lungs and the administration of oxygen as the victim deteriorated during the 14 minute ambulance ride from his home to the OU Medical Center.

Ritchie said she was covered in blood from her efforts to save Strozewski’s life. She heard the next day he had not survived.

Joy Hampton



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