On March 13, 2012, Bob and Nancy Strait celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. The following day, a brutal home invasion would leave the pair critically injured. Nancy, 85 years old, died of her injuries two days after the attack. Bob, who was 90, died six weeks later, on May 4, 2012.
A day after the assaults, police arrested a suspect, 20-year-old Tyrone Dale David Woodfork, who was spotted driving in Tulsa in the couple's stolen vehicle.
Woodfork was convicted a little over a month ago on multiple counts related to the rape and murder of Nancy Strait and the brutal assault of her husband Bob. Woodfork was not charged with murder following Bob Strait's death, because a medical examiner ruled that the man's death was caused by an underlying medical condition, rather than the injuries sustained in the assault--injuries which included a broken jaw, broken ribs, and BB gun shots to the face. In May, a jury found Woodfork guilty of six felonies:
- First Degree Murder/Felony Murder
- 2 Counts of First Degree Robbery
- 2 Counts of First Degree Rape
- Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon
The defendant escaped the death penalty despite the murder being "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel," one of the qualifying characteristics for capital murder. Woodfork was determined to have a "borderline" IQ and a history of "mental limitations" which would have made his execution unconstitutional. Instead, prosecutors said they would seek a sentence that would keep the defendant behind bars for life.
On Monday, a Tulsa County Judge handed down a sentence that will do just that. At the formal sentencing, Judge William Kellough said that the "nature of the crimes demands that the law impose a sentence that will never let Woodfork leave the penitentiary." He then sentenced Woodfork to four life sentences plus 40 years in prison. Of particular note is that the life sentences are to be served consecutively, rather than concurrently.
In Oklahoma, life sentences are calculated at 45 years for the purpose of determining parole. If Woodfork's life sentences were served concurrently, and his life sentences did not exclude parole, then he could have been eligible for parole when he was in his 60's. Instead, since they are to be served consecutively, the 22-year-old man would have to serve at least 187 years before becoming eligible for parole when he is 199 years old. This sentence should enforce Judge Kellough's assertion that the defendant should never leave prison.
Woodfork maintains his innocence, telling prosecutors and the victims' family that he will help them find the real killer "when the time is right," and that he has not yet done so because "snitches get stitches."