World

Oklahoma death row inmate executed for double killing after 3 last words

[ad_1]

An Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of shooting and killing two people in Oklahoma City more than two decades ago was executed Thursday morning. 

Michael DeWayne Smith, 41, was executed by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary after his conviction and death sentence for the slayings of Janet Moore, 41; and Sharath Pulluru, 22, in separate shootings that took place in February 2002. 

He was declared dead at 10:19 a.m. after receiving lethal drugs in the execution chamber. When asked if he had any last words, Smith replied, “Nah, I’m good.” 

Family members of victim Janet Moore witnessed the execution from behind one-way glass. Attorney General Gentner Drummond read a statement on their behalf that said, in part, “justice has been served.” 

FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED IN DISAPPEARANCE OF TWO WOMEN LAST SEEN IN OKLAHOMA: OFFICIALS

Smith was the first convict executed by the state in 2024 and Oklahoma’s 12th execution since capital punishment resumed in 2021. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday denied Smith’s fourth request for an emergency stay of execution. 

At a clemency hearing last month, Smith gave his “deepest apologies and deepest sorrows to the families” of the victims but claimed he was not responsible for the shootings. 

“I didn’t commit these crimes. I didn’t kill these people,” Smith told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, which voted 4-1 to deny him clemency. “I was high on drugs. I don’t even remember getting arrested,” Smith said, at several points breaking down into tears. 

ALABAMA INMATE SET FOR SECOND-EVER NITROGEN GAS EXECUTION SUES: ‘PAIN AND DISGRACE’

Prosecutors say Smith was a ruthless gang member who killed both victims in misguided acts of revenge and confessed his involvement in the killings to police and two other people. They claim he killed Moore because he was looking for her son, who he mistakenly thought had told police about his whereabouts. Later that day, prosecutors say Smith killed Pulluru, a convenience store clerk who Smith believed had disrespected his gang during an interview with a newspaper reporter.

Smith’s attorney, Mark Henricksen, argued that Smith was intellectually disabled, a condition worsened by years of heavy drug use, and that his life should have been spared and he should have been allowed to spend the rest of his life in prison. Henricksen said Smith was in a PCP-induced haze when he confessed to police and that key elements of his confession aren’t supported by facts.

LOUISIANA GOV. LANDRY SIGNALS PUSH FOR STATE TO RESUME DEATH ROW EXECUTIONS

A group that opposes the death penalty protested Smith’s execution outside the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City on Thursday.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty demanded that Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) halt the execution. The protest came after Smith’s family petitioned the governor on Wednesday to intervene, saying that new evidence in Smith’s case showed that witnesses were being coerced during trial, local station KOCO News reported. 

Drummond, in a statement, called victim Moore “a rock for her family” and said Pulluru “was an inspiration to his family” as the first member to come to the United States for an education.

“Janet and Sharath were murdered simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time; that was all. I am grateful that justice has been served,” the attorney general said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

[ad_2]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *