OSBI, DOC to distribute cold case playing cards in Oklahoma prisons

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is distributing cold case playing cards into Oklahoma prisons. (KOKH/Eric Self)

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has unveiled a program that will distribute cold case playing cards to Oklahoma prisons.

The decks, featuring 52 homicide or missing person cold cases, have already been distributed to commissaries in six Oklahoma Department of Corrections facilities. OSBI Director Stan Florence says that the cards feature cases in Oklahoma from 1978 to 2013.

"This is a very unique partnership between us and the Department of Corrections," Florence said.

Florence says that a lot of information on cold cases resides within individuals that are incarcerated.

"How can we get that information to advance the case...How can we take that information to utilize it and solve the case," Florence said.

The cards feature the victim's names and circumstances that led to their death or disappearance. Florence reports that at least 17 other states have a similar program and 40 homicides have been resolved as a result of those programs.

Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh says the cards are current available for purchas in the following facilities:

  • Bill Johnson Correctional Center in Alva
  • James Crabtree Correctional Center in Hominy
  • Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft
  • James E. Hamilton Correctional Center in Poteau
  • The Oklahoma State Penitentiary
  • Kate Barnard Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City

The 5,000 decks reported cost OSBI $5,450 which was paid for through the agency's evidence funds. The cards will cost inmates $1.42, of which the DOC will refund $1.09 back to the OSBI. Each deck features an 800 number for inmates to call in information on the cases.

Featured on the 3 of Spades on the deck is Marie Dighton. Dighton was killed in her home in Buffalo Valley in 2008 and the person responsible has not been arrested. Her daughter Maria Wilson thanked the agencies for thinking outside the box.

"These cards represent 52 families...52 families who are still waiting for justice." Wilson said. "If it just solves one case it is worth it."

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