Michael Dewayne Smith was sentenced to death for killing 2 people

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A man convicted of killing two people in Oklahoma more than two decades ago was executed Thursday, marking the state’s first execution of the year.
Michael Dewayne Smith received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester and was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m., the Department of Corrections confirmed to CBS News.
Smith, 41, was sentenced to death in Oklahoma after his convictions two decades ago in the murders of Janet Moore, a 41-year-old mother, and Sharath Pulluru, a 22-year-old store clerk.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals also rejected an emergency stay of execution for Smith earlier this week, CBS affiliate KOTV reported.
It was later discovered that Oklahoma had used an incorrect and unauthorized drug in the lethal injection cocktail used for Warner’s execution.
But the state went on to resume an execution schedule in late 2021, months before a federal trial was set to examine its lethal injection protocol.
The state botched its first execution, of former inmate John Grant, by lethal injection upon its return to the schedule.
Oklahoma adopted its own state policy authorizing capital punishment in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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Oklahoma saw its first execution of the year on Thursday, when a man convicted of killing two people there over 20 years ago was put to death. After being given a fatal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Michael Dewayne Smith was declared dead at 10:20 a.m. M. confirmed to CBS News by the Department of Corrections.

The execution came after the state’s contentious 2021 decision to reinstate the death penalty in response to botched executions that raised concerns about its procedures.

Smith said, “Nope, I’m good,” in response to the question of whether he had any final remarks, according to the Associated Press.

Following his convictions two decades prior for the murders of 21-year-old Sharath Pulluru, a store clerk, and 41-year-old mother Janet Moore, Smith, 41, was given the death penalty in Oklahoma. The separate shootings that claimed their lives occurred on February. authorities claim that on February 22, 2002, Smith was already fugitive following a previous homicide.

On Thursday, Oklahoma’s execution process started at 10:09 a.m. and lasted for just over ten minutes. me. stated Steven Harpe, the state director of prisons, in a statement that CBS News was able to obtain. At 10:14 a.m., Smith was deemed incapable. M. , in light of that assertion. The director stated that Smith asked to be joined in the death chamber by a spiritual advisor. A final meal request was not made by the prisoner.

In particular, the relatives and friends of the victims Janet Moore and Sharath Pulluru have been impacted by today’s event and the circumstances leading up to it, according to Harpe. “As an organization, we honored the court’s directives in accordance with our strict guidelines for professionalism and consideration for the people entrusted to our care, guaranteeing dignity for all parties concerned. “.”.

Records indicate that Smith made numerous attempts to appeal his sentence during the majority of his incarceration. Smith and his defense team have maintained, among other things, that despite his prior admission to both crimes, he is not guilty of the two murders for which he was found guilty. Due to an apparent past drug addiction and intellectual disability, they pushed for clemency, since a U. S. Oklahoma would not be able to execute him if the Supreme Court’s ruling on the latter point held. Smith’s court appeals were all unsuccessful.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond formally requested that the state’s Pardon and Parole Board reject Smith’s request for clemency ahead of a hearing in March that would determine his fate.

“Judges have consistently dismissed Michael Smith’s preposterous claims of innocence,” according to a statement from Drummond. “He is a vicious murderer who has made numerous admissions to his crimes. I am convinced that his clemency request ought to be turned down. “.”.

Drummond claimed that Smith’s confession was supported by evidence discovered at the locations of both killings. He further pointed out that Smith’s IQ scores made the inmate’s request for leniency based on an alleged intellectual disability “statutorily ineligible” and rejected the inmate’s plea. “.”.

While expressing his “deepest apologies and deepest sorrows to the families” of the victims, Smith denied any role in the killings during the hearing, according to the Associated Press.

“These are not the crimes that I did. Smith uttered these moving words: “I didn’t kill these people. “I was high on drugs. I can’t even recall ever being arrested. “.”.

Smith’s request for clemency was ultimately denied by the parole board in a 4-1 vote, and his execution was set to proceed.

Earlier this week, Smith’s emergency stay of execution was also denied by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, according to KOTV, a CBS affiliate. Following other emergency pleas in recent months that were turned down, including one that requested post-conviction DNA testing, he submitted his third and final one to the criminal appeals court, the station reported.

Smith gave police “a very detailed, highly corroborated confession,” which was allegedly supported by other confessions and evidence from the crime scene. The appeals court mentioned this confession in its ruling, which the court stated did not change the validity of Smith’s conviction, according to KOTV.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections was contacted by CBS News for comment, but they did not respond right away.

There were 43 inmates in Oklahoma on death row, including Smith. His execution marked the first of the year and the twelfth since the state brought back the death penalty following a seven-year hiatus in 2021. This break was brought about by several mishandled executions by lethal injection in 2014 and 2015, most notably the botched execution of Charles Warner, a former death row inmate who witnesses claimed suffered unduly in the execution chamber. Later on, it was found that Oklahoma had mixed the lethal injection cocktail for Warner’s execution with an illegal and incorrect drug.

Oklahoma consented to postpone executions while inquiries into the cause of the incident were conducted. However, the execution schedule was resumed by the state in late 2021, a few months before a federal trial was scheduled to scrutinize its lethal injection protocol. Upon returning to schedule, the state botched its first lethal injection execution, involving former prisoner John Grant.

The Death Penalty Information Center states that Oklahoma enacted its own state law allowing the death penalty in 1976. The state did not carry out its first execution until 1990, and in that time it has executed 123 prisoners. Oklahoma has also seen one federal execution.

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