The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 17, 2013

Oklahoma man convicted in deaths of 2 faces execution today


Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma death row inmate faces execution today for the stabbing deaths of an elderly Le Flore County couple almost 13 years ago.



James Lewis DeRosa, 36, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the Oct. 2, 2000, slayings of Curtis Plummer, 73, and Gloria Plummer, 70.



Prosecutors said DeRosa had worked at the Plummers' ranch in Poteau and alleged that DeRosa and a co-defendant, John Eric Castleberry, talked their way into the victims' home, slashed their throats and left with $73 and the couple's truck, which was abandoned at a nearby lake. Castleberry, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in an agreement with prosecutors in which he testified against DeRosa.



Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said Monday that DeRosa will be escorted from his cell on death row Tuesday morning and placed in a different one adjacent to Oklahoma's death chamber to await his execution, which is scheduled for 6 p.m.



Massie said DeRosa has made no special last meal request, as is customary among condemned inmates, and will receive the same meal provided other inmates. DeRosa has not requested visitation with family members or a spiritual advisor prior to his execution and family members do not plan to witness his execution, Massie said.



Online federal court records indicate no last-minute petitions have been filed in an attempt to halt the execution. Defense attorney Tom Hird of the Federal Public Defender's Office did not return a call seeking comment.



Last month, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board rejected DeRosa's request that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. During the hearing, DeRosa took responsibility for the victims' deaths and expressed remorse for his actions.



"I can't express how truly sorry I am for the pain I've caused the Plummer family," DeRosa said in a teleconference from the penitentiary. He also indicated he had started practicing Messianic Judaism — which combines elements of Christian and Jewish theologies — since his arrest and conviction.



DeRosa will become the second Oklahoma death row inmate to be executed this year. Steven Ray Thacker, 42, was executed March 12 for the 1999 death of a woman whose credit cards he used to buy Christmas presents for his family.



Execution dates have been set for two other Oklahoma death row prisoners, including one next week.



Brian Darrell Davis, 39, is scheduled to be executed on June 25. He was convicted in the rape and murder of his girlfriend's mother almost 12 years ago. Gov. Mary Fallin rejected the pardon and parole board's recommendation that his sentence be commuted to life without parole.



Anthony Rozelle Banks, 60, is scheduled to be executed Sept. 10 for the June 6, 1979, killing of a 24-year-old woman. A clemency hearing for Banks has not been scheduled.