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State News

June 3, 2014

Appeals court affirms life sentence in death

Oklahoma City — A 23-year-old woman who was sentenced to life in prison in the slaying of an elderly woman has lost her attempt to have her first-degree murder conviction overturned.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Monday upheld the conviction and sentence of Tonya Ann Watie. An Adair County jury convicted Watie in the Dec. 24, 2011, death of 88-year-old Virgie Murphy.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation says deputies responding to an emergency call found the victim dead in her Stilwell home with Watie still inside. Officials say it does not appear the women knew each other.

An affidavit filed in the case says police found Watie standing over Murphy's body and repeatedly striking her with an object.

Watie's defense attorney, Jamie Pybas, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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