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Tulsa Homicide Detectives Say Murders Are Getting Harder To Solve

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Tulsa had 57 murders in 2008, with 11 of them unsolved. There have been 56 murders so far in 2009 and 13 are open. Tulsa had 57 murders in 2008, with 11 of them unsolved. There have been 56 murders so far in 2009 and 13 are open.
"We used to have a majority of murders we refer to as grounders, that work themselves out early in the investigation. Now, the overwhelming majority are what we call whodunits. We get there and have no ideas what happened," said Sgt. Mike Huff. "We used to have a majority of murders we refer to as grounders, that work themselves out early in the investigation. Now, the overwhelming majority are what we call whodunits. We get there and have no ideas what happened," said Sgt. Mike Huff.
Tulsa homicide detectives have solved 76 percent of the cases so far this year. They expect it to be at about 80 percent by the end of the year. Tulsa homicide detectives have solved 76 percent of the cases so far this year. They expect it to be at about 80 percent by the end of the year.

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Three murders happened in Tulsa over the past weekend.  That brings the number for the year to 56.  Thirteen of those murder cases are still open. 

Tulsa had 57 murders in 2008, with 11 of them unsolved.

Tulsa Police detectives say the dynamics of how and why people kill each other have changed, which makes solving cases harder every year.

A troubled young mother from New York was slashed and thrown out like garbage. A 16-year-old high school student fresh off the school bus and a young man hanging out with friends, sliced down in a hail of bullets -- these are three of Tulsa's 13 unsolved murders from 2009.

Each case is a name, a person, who has a family left behind who's grieving and needs answers.  

To them, there is no case more important and they want what some families call closure, others call justice, but it boils down to an arrest.

That is the task of the nine detectives working Tulsa's homicide unit. They say three things have changed the dynamics of murder, making them harder to solve. 

  • First, they are more anonymous and haphazard because of gangs and drugs.

"We used to have a majority of murders we refer to as grounders, that work themselves out early in the investigation. Now, the overwhelming majority are what we call whodunits. We get there and have no ideas what happened," said Sgt. Mike Huff, Tulsa Police Major Crimes.

  • Second is television. Detectives believe people are more likely to alter crime scenes or remove physical evidence, which slows down investigations. 
  • Third, fewer people being willing to talk to police.

"This no snitch rule; we talk about it all the time, but it's absolutely apparent in almost 100 percent of the cases. There are people out there who know who's committing these murders and aren't telling us," said Sgt. Mike Huff.

Police say one thing people should know about the murder rate is there are few, total stranger, random murders -- most people know their killer. 

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Tulsa homicide detectives have solved 76 percent of the cases so far this year. They expect it to be at about 80 percent by the end of the year, which is pretty typical for Tulsa, but higher than the national average.

Tulsa’s Unsolved Murders:

  • Lisa Bollaert, 5-6-09

8/27/2009  Related Story: Video Shows Tulsa Homicide Victim Just Hours Before Her Death

  • Jason Trent, 5-12-09

6/27/2009  Related Story: North Tulsa Community Center Planned As Tribute

  • Michael Davis, 5-23-09

5/26/2009  Related Story: Weekend Tulsa Murder Victim Identified

  • Tyler Jordan, 6-7-09

6/15/2009  Related Story: Person Of Interest Wanted In Deadly Drive-By

  • Pedro Sanchez, 7-18-09

7/20/2009  Related Story: Tulsa Police Seek Witnesses In The City's Latest Homicide

  • Otis Colbert, 8-7-09

8/9/2009  Related Story: Victim Of July Home Invasion In Tulsa Dies

  • Wiletta Patrick, 8-29-09

9/10/2009  Related Story: Search Goes On For Suspects In Tulsa Murder

  • Marquis Barnett, 9-7-09
  • Jacob Barnes, 9-25-09

10/3/2009  Related Story: Family, Friends Say Goodbye To Murdered Tulsa Student

  • David Jackson, 10-31-09

10/31/2009  Related Story: Tips Needed In Fatal Shooting Near Tulsa Soccer Fields

  • Jonathan Rush, 11-7-09

11/9/2009  Related Story: Tulsa Police ID Two Weekend Homicide Victims

  • Michaelee Richardson, 11-7-09

11/9/2009  Related Story: Tulsa Police ID Two Weekend Homicide Victims

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