Judge who survived 1995 Oklahoma City bombing dies after COVID-19 diagnosis


OKLAHOMA CITY (NewsNation Now) — Honorable Rebecca A. Cryer went from presiding over her docket to being hooked up on a ventilator battling coronavirus within days.

Aimie Black said her 73-year-old mom went from texting her updates every day at Norman Regional to silence.

“Her organs were failing, so we had to make the decision,” Black said.

Cryer was fighting COVID-19 for less than two weeks. Once she was hooked up to the ventilator, it only took a few days for the virus to completely take over her body. Black said the doctors called her with the news.

“She allowed us to go up there and say our goodbyes,” Black said.

Cryer was a grandmother, a wife of 56 years and a notable attorney.

“It really just put a lump in my throat,” President of the Oklahoma Indian Bar Association Judge Arvo Mikkanen said. “It [being a judge] wasn’t for money or for the fame or for the glamour, but just because she felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Cryer had escaped danger before. On the morning of April 19, 1995, Judge Cryer was working inside the Journal Record Building in downtown Oklahoma City when a bomb went off at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building next door. She was severely injured with shards of glass covering her body.

“That was a huge part of her life, overcoming that adversity,” Mikkanen said.

Cryer went on to have a lengthy legal career and eventually worked her way up to District Judge of the Choctaw Nation.

This week, outside of the Choctaw Nation District Court, flags remained at half-staff and flowers were placed outside her courtroom.

Judge Cryer’s name is also etched on the Survivor Wall at the OKC National Museum and Memorial in downtown OKC.

“She was incredible, and she was a life taken way too soon,” Black said.

NewsNation affiliate KFOR contributed to this report.

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