The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

December 16, 2013

Panel rejects clemency for Oklahoma inmate

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board rejected clemency on Monday for a death row inmate scheduled to be executed next month for the beating death of a Tulsa convenience store manager almost 19 years ago.

The board voted 4-1 against commuting the death sentence of Michael Lee Wilson. The 38-year-old was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Richard Yost, who was killed during a robbery at the convenience store where he worked as the night clerk on Feb. 26, 1995. Prosecutors alleged that Wilson, who also worked at the convenience store, planned the robbery. He was among four people convicted in the case.

Wilson’s execution is set for Jan. 9.

The board declined to reduce Wilson’s sentence to life in prison without parole after Wilson apologized to members of the victim’s family and acknowledged the harm he had caused them.

“For that, I’m truly sorry,” he said during a teleconference from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. “I was young, foolish. I’m a different person now.”

Wilson said that while on death row he has worked to help other inmates turn their lives around. Earlier, his attorney, Lanita Henricksen, said Wilson had responded well to the prison environment and “would cope well” in the structured setting.

“I’m asking y’all today to give me another chance at life,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s mother, Patricia Taylor, told the board she was “very sympathetic” with the Yost family but pleaded with the panel to spare her son’s life.

“I cannot imagine losing my baby son,” Taylor said.

“They’re begging for his life,” Henricksen added, referring to Wilson’s family.

Following the vote, Taylor and Wilson’s other relatives who attended the hearing wept and tried to console each other.

Yost’s body was found bound and beaten on the floor of the cooler of a QuikTrip convenience store. The 30-year-old had suffered a fractured skull and other injuries after he was struck as many as 54 times with an aluminum baseball bat, said Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Miller.

Miller said Wilson, a QuikTrip employee who worked with Yost, initiated and planned the robbery at least two weeks before Yost was killed. Three other men also were convicted in Yost’s death.

“This crime would never have occurred without Michael Wilson,” Miller said. “He is a manipulative individual.”

Miller also rejected defense claims that Wilson did not actually strike the victim with the bat, recalling trial testimony that Yost’s wounds were inflicted from a variety of directions.

“They all took turns hitting him,” Miller said. “There’s no doubt he had the intent to kill. It shows the callous nature of Michael Wilson.”

Yost’s widow, Pamela Houser-Yost, urged the board to deny clemency and said her husband’s death had forced her to raise her two sons, who were 8 and 2 1/2 at the time, as a single parent.

“My boys miss the love that Richard would have given them,” she said, adding that money was more important to the men that the life of her children’s father.

Two of Wilson’s co-defendants have already been executed. Darwin Brown, 32, was executed in January 2009, and Billy Don Alverson, 39, was executed in January 2011. The fourth defendant, Richard Harjo, who was 16 at the time of the crime and is now 35, was sentenced to life in prison.


Text Only
National and world
  • Oil Train Fires web.jpg Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

    Accident investigators have complained for decades that older tank cars, known as DOT-111s, are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents when derailed. Since 2008, there have been 10 significant derailments in the U.S. and Canada in which crude oil has spilled from ruptured tank cars, often igniting and resulting in huge fireballs. The worst was a runaway oil train that exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic a year ago, killing 47 people.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taiwan Plane Crash web.jpg Relatives fly to Taiwan plane crash site, 48 dead

    Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China late Wednesday, authorities said. The plane was on a flight from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona Execution web.jpg Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

    Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s office said Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., one hour and 57 minutes after the execution started.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flights Canceled Israel web.jpg Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Health overhaul web.jpg Dueling rulings: Courts split on health law clash

    But the split rulings don’t necessarily mean another trip to the Supreme Court for the Affordable Care Act.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senate Georgia web.jpg Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff

    Tuesday night’s primary runoff win validates Perdue’s campaign as an outsider.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ODD Brooklyn Bridge M_Hass.jpg Police probing switch of flags on Brooklyn Bridge

    Video footage of the security breach shows the unidentified people walking on the bridge's footpath at about 3:10 a.m., and 20 minutes later the light on the bridge's Brooklyn tower flickers and goes dark. The same thing happens about 12 minutes later on the Manhattan tower.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veterans Health_Hass.jpg Obama nominee McDonald pledges to ‘transform’ VA

    Robert McDonald cited problems with patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity, among other issues, during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee over his nomination today.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Immigration Overload_Hass.jpg 2008 law unexpectedly at center of border debate

    "The 2008 law creates a process that made sense when you're talking about a limited number of children, the victims of sex trafficking. It doesn't make sense when you talk about 50,000 unaccompanied minors. The 2008 law wasn't designed to deal with this situation." — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Mideast Israe_Hass.jpg Gaza rocket lands near Israel's main airport

    A Delta Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Tel Aviv on Tuesday when it turned around and flew to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads