This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Editor’s note: I’m traveling at the moment, so this story will not be updated in real time like the others are. Apologies to anyone coming here for details. It will be updated, but not in the usual timely manner.
From Dan Holtmeyer, for the Associated Press. View the original article here.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma death-row inmate convicted of three murders in three states is set for execution this week after waiving his right to seek clemency from the state’s parole board.
Steven Ray Thacker, 42, would be the first inmate executed in Oklahoma this year. He is scheduled to die Tuesday night at the state penitentiary in McAlester for the December 1999 death of Laci Dawn Hill, 25, in Mayes County.
Hill’s death was the first pinned on Thacker in a three-day period. He was sentenced to life the Jan. 1, 2000, death of a man in Missouri and was condemned to die in Tennessee for killing a man the next day.
Authorities say Thacker’s crimes began as a scheme to steal money from Hill, going to her house under the guise of checking out a pool table mentioned in a newspaper ad but threatening her with a knife.
Thacker’s plans changed, he later confessed in court. He said he took her to a cabin, raped her and stabbed her in the chest twice. He also stole her debit and credit cards and used them to buy Christmas presents for his family.
Fearing discovery, police said, Thacker fled to Missouri, where he broke into several houses, including one owned by Forrest Reed Boyd, 24. Court documents indicate Boyd arrived while Thacker was in his home, and Thacker allegedly stabbed him several times in the back before taking Boyd’s car.
Thacker then fled to Tennessee, where authorities say he killed Ray Patterson, 52, after Patterson arrived to help Thacker tow the car and discovered Thacker’s credit cards were stolen.
Karen Cunningham, a victim impact coordinator for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, said members of all three victims’ families plan to be present at the execution. She couldn’t say which, saying plans could change until the actual event.
Thacker’s lawyer, Ray Bauman, declined comment. Prosecutors did not respond to a request for comment.
In testimony to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, the families of Patterson and Hill painted a picture of permanent grief and shattered lives.
“He took my superman. He took my hero,” Donna Breece, one of Patterson’s three children, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “They don’t get better. You just learn to live with it and God makes it bearable.”
Breece said she believes her father has forgiven Thacker, and so has she.
“It was like he still had ahold of me, and I don’t want to live like that,” she said. “It was just sickening, it was awful. I had to forgive him.”
Breece said she regretted Thacker’s execution only because it would cause grief to his own family. She didn’t plan to attend.
“There’s no happiness in what’s going to happen Tuesday,” she said. “My closure is when I die. I won’t have to live this or put up with it anymore.”
BREAKING: Steven Ray Thacker executed at 6:10pm CDT. More on @ktulnews at Ten.
— D.P. (@DPet_KTULNews) March 12, 2013