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June 19, 2014

Second suspect in Strozewski murder case given life sentence

NORMAN — A Cleveland County jury found Loretta Hawks, 35, guilty on counts of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and two counts of kidnapping Wednesday after the death of Arthur Strozewski, 47.

The jury, composed of six men and six women, deliberated for about four-and-a-half hours before returning the verdicts and recommending sentences for the crimes in District Judge Thad Balkman’s courtroom.

The jury recommended life in prison for the first-degree murder charge, 15 years for first-degree burglary and one kidnapping charge, and 14 years for the other kidnapping charge.

“We’re disappointed in the verdict. We hope that we can get another trial on the appeal,” said attorney Tyson Stanek, who represented Hawks, along with Justin Jack.

Hawks was charged conjointly with Sebastian Shepherd, 19, and recently convicted Eddie Thompson, 35. A different jury returned a guilty verdict on Thompson last week for all counts and asked that he receive life in prison without parole for the murder of Arthur Strozewski in his Cleveland County home in August 2012.

Oklahoma City police found Strozewski lying in his bed with 38 stab wounds after his 16-year-old daughter called 911 during the home invasion that escalated to assault and eventually homicide. Strozewski’s 14-year-old son also was home at the time when the two men entered the home and duct taped him in his bed, according to his testimony.

Hawks and her children had been living with the Strozewski family for a short period of time but had been kicked out that night, Assistant District Attorney Christy Miller said during closing statements Wednesday morning.

Out of the three people involved, she was the only one who knew Strozewski, and she was the one who was mad at him for kicking her out of the house, Miller told the jury.

Miller asked the jury to consider that without Hawks, the two men couldn’t have gotten into the house, they wouldn’t have known who Arthur Strozewski was and they wouldn’t have known where to look for certain things in the home, such as where he might keep his cash and where a gun was located.

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