Chicken-Fried News: Overcharged 

INGVARD ASHBY
  • Ingvard Ashby

Investigating the cause of a signal outage at a Sand Springs radio tower on the morning of Aug. 4, an engineer found two men — one electrocuted to death and the other badly burned and convulsing on the ground. Under Oklahoma state law, a woman reportedly sleeping in a car nearby at the time might be charged with first-degree murder.

“Albert Badger, 39, was found with cable cutters still attached to a nearby power supply and had burn marks on his body,” Tulsa World reported. “Deputy Justin Green said the men likely were attempting to steal copper from a KRMG-AM radio tower … and were shocked in the process.”

Angie West reportedly gave both men a ride to the scene and then fell asleep in the car. When they failed to return, West told police she assumed they had fled the scene and she drove away. She was booked into Tulsa County jail that evening on a first-degree murder complaint. Because Badger’s death occurred during an alleged felony, both West and Ely Amerson, the man injured in the incident, can be charged with murder, Green told KTUL Fox 25.

"It's sad this happened this way, but it's sometimes the way things go,” Green said. “When you take it upon yourself to commit a crime, especially a felony, anyone associated with that crime, all parties can be charged with murder.”

According to the American Bar Association, 40 states currently have felony murder laws. A 1980 Michigan State Supreme Court ruling abolishing the practice in the state called it “a historic survivor for which there is no logical or practical basis for existence in modern law.” The New York Times reported last year that in some cases, accomplices are charged “when the death actually occurred at the hands of the police or even the victim” and in a study of 1,000 California inmates, “the felony murder rule disproportionately affects women and young people.”

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