October 23

Fact check: Assault on elderly couple in Oklahoma occurred in 2012

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Posts circulated on social media claim that earlier this month in Tulsa, Oklahoma a young Black man named Tyrone Woodfork was arrested for a brutal assault on an elderly white couple, Bob and Nancy Strait, resulting in the death of Mrs Strait. The posts allege that the incident was not reported by national media. The claim regarding the timing is false: the incident did happen, but it took place eight years ago and Woodfork was arrested the next day. While much of the coverage was in local news outlets, the case was also reported by Fox News.

The claims were posted in the context of a tense debate on race relations in the United States following the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis ( here ). The killing of Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignited protests across the country and around the world.

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The text of the posts says, in part: “I supposed that if Mr. Strait had shot Tyrone, the whole country would know about the story. As it is, only Mrs. Strait died, so it’s not of interest to Brian Williams and the rest of the main stream media.” Examples of the claim are visible here and here .

On March 14, 2012 CBS-affiliate Channel 6 News reported that the Tulsa Police Department was searching for suspects in the beating of Bob Strait, 90, and Nancy Strait, 85, two North Tulsa residents ( here ). Nancy Strait died in a Tulsa hospital from wounds sustained during the assault. Bob Strait, who had also suffered critical injuries, died less than two months later ( here ).

Fox News reported on Bob Strait’s death and the charges against Woodfork here .

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On May 24, 2014, Tyrone Woodfork was convicted for the rape and murder of Nancy Strait ( here ). He was given multiple life-sentences, a decision upheld by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in January 2016, according to other local reports ( here , here ).


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