Welch man sentenced to 45 years in prison for matricide

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WELCH, Okla. — A northeast Oklahoma man will spend more than four decades behind bars for murdering his mother more than 10 years ago.

58-year-old Michael Joe Rice, of Welch, plead guilty today to second degree murder in Indian Country. A judge sentenced him to 45 years in prison.

According to court documents — his then girlfriend told a Craig County sheriff’s deputy, she and Rice found his adoptive mother, Ruth Rice, dead inside her home. Michael Rice later told authorities he murdered his mother over money and he was depressed.

He told them he hit her multiple times, tackled her — and then put bags in her mouth to keep her from yelling. He then left, but later returned and raped her. He had previously plead guilty in Craig County and was sentenced to life without parole — but later appealed his conviction based on a supreme court ruling.

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