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Oklahoma appeal court upholds life sentence in woman’s death

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has affirmed the life prison sentence of a man convicted of fatally shooting a 57-year-old woman in McIntosh County.

The court handed down the ruling Thursday in the case of 57-year-old Steven Vanzant, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Deborah Kelso.

Kelso was shot in the head with a .22-caliber handgun before her home was set on fire in August 2012. Vanzant and Kelso had lived together for many years, but Vanzant claimed he was an hour away when Kelso was killed. He was formally charged with her death a year later.

Among other things, Vanzant alleged insufficient evidence and that his life without parole sentence is excessive. His attorney, Traci Quick, didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.