Ok­la­homa pris­ons sell­ing in­mates cold case play­ing cards

Arab News - - COFFEE BREAK -

OK­LA­HOMA CITY: Ok­la­homa au­thor­i­ties are hop­ing to solve killings and other cold cases by sell­ing play­ing cards that fea­ture the cases to pris­on­ers. The first in a planned se­ries of decks is al­ready on sale for $1.42 at six of the state’s lock­ups, and a sec­ond deck is al­ready be­ing planned. The cards are rem­i­nis­cent of those dis­trib­uted to US troops dur­ing the Iraq War that fea­tured mem­bers of Sad­dam Hus­sein’s govern­ment, ex­cept th­ese fea­ture un­solved cases from 1978 through 2013. “We rec­og­nize that vir­tu­ally ev­ery sin­gle case that is un­re­solved, there is in­for­ma­tion that rests within at least one in­di­vid­ual, if not more than one in­di­vid­ual,” he said. “It is our be­lief that ... much of this in­for­ma­tion I speak of rests within in­di­vid­u­als who are in­car­cer­ated,” said Stan Florence, the di­rec­tor of the Ok­la­homa State Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion. Florence said other states, in­clud­ing Flor­ida, Colorado, Con­necti­cut and South Carolina, have sim­i­lar pro­grams that have led to the solv­ing of about 40 un­solved homi­cides. Joe All­baugh, the state Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions di­rec­tor, said each deck costs $1.09 to pro­duce, and the prof­its will be used to pro­duce new decks fea­tur­ing other un­solved cases. Even­tu­ally, they will be the only cards in­mates can buy. “There are in­di­vid­u­als, be­lieve it or not, who share in­for­ma­tion, even though they are in­car­cer­ated,” All­baugh said of in­mates who pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about un­solved crimes. Maria Wil­son, whose mother Marie Dighton’s 2008 killing in her Buf­falo Val­ley home re­mains un­solved, praised the play­ing cards pro­gram. Wil­son, of Guthrie, said it is im­pos­si­ble to fully move on, de­spite the years that have passed.

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