David Arkinson charged with the murder of an elderly Tulsa woman

Friday, January 18th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

He was once one of Tulsa's most wanted fugitives. Now 30 year-old David Arkinson faces murder charges for allegedly beating an elderly woman to death.

News on Six reporter Tami Marler says the Tulsa County District Attorney filed the charges Friday afternoon. However, David Arkinson has had a long record of run-ins with the law.

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Arkinson was convicted of sexually assaulting his 19 year-old ex-girlfriend back in 1992. He served time there until he was released to Oklahoma Department of Corrections supervision in February of 1998. Tulsa Police records show he registered as a sex offender a few days after arriving here. In August of '98, in Tulsa, Arkinson was charged with four counts of sexually molesting three children.

In February of 1999, authorities say Arkinson violated his parole somewhere in Michigan, and was sent back to Illinois to serve the rest of his term for sexual assault.

In May of 2000, he came back to Tulsa to face the child molestation charges, which were dropped because the witnesses failed to testify.

The next time Arkinson met up with the law, when a woman was attacked in his apartment complex. When police took David Arkinson into custody, he reportedly made statements that implicate him in two savage crimes in as many weeks. On Wednesday, a neighbor found 75 year old Gwen Gershon beaten to death on the floor of her home. Her hands were bound, her head covered.

The week before, a 56 year-old woman was found beaten and raped in her apartment. Authorities thought they knew who did it, and they knew what he was capable of. "February of 1998 he originally registered here." It was information Randy Lawmaster with the Tulsa Police Department says was at anyone's fingertips since Arkinson first registered as a sex offender. "You could find out where he was living, uh there'd be a picture of him, a physical description and what he'd been convicted of."

Lawmaster says Arkinson updated his address this month, it's required by law. "If you don't obey what state law says then you could do up to five years in the state penitentiary for violating the sex offender registration act." The Oklahoma Department of Corrections sends out letters to sex offenders on a regular basis and Tulsa registrants have to bring the letters - notarized - to Randy Lawmaster. "It takes a lot of time because we have approximately 600 people who are registered within the city of Tulsa, and each one of those people has to update at least once a year."

But not all of them stay current. This is just one of the stacks of offenders Lawmaster has to find on his own. He says you can help, by checking out your own neighborhood. "It gives us information - feedback - if people find out that the people who say they're living in a neighborhood are not there."

You may be surprised to know, not every sex offender has to register with local authorities, there are some "loopholes" - like plea bargains - that Lawmaster and other authorities are working to fix.