Oklahoma executes man who killed store manager in robbery

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 09, 2014 7:51 PM

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma executed a man by lethal injection on Thursday who was convicted of beating a Tulsa convenience store manager to death with a baseball bat during a robbery in 1995.

Michael Lee Wilson, 38, was pronounced dead at 6:06 p.m. U.S. Central Time (2406 GMT), according to a spokesman for the Oklahoma prison system.

In his last words, Wilson said: "I just want to say I love everybody. Free is free. I love the world. Love my daughters for me. I will miss you always. I feel my whole body is burning," according to spokesman Jerry Massie.

The execution was witnessed by the victim's family and Wilson's relatives at a prison in McAlester, where Oklahoma has its death chamber.

Wilson, 38, was the first person put to death this year in Oklahoma and the second person executed in 2014 in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which tracks the use of capital punishment.

Wilson was one of four men found guilty of murdering 30-year-old Richard Yost, who was bound and beaten to death inside the convenience store's cooler.

Two of those convicted for the murder have already been executed and the fourth was sentenced to life without parole.

According to court documents, Wilson, Darwin Demond Brown, Billy Don Alverson and Richard Harjo entered the QuikTrip convenience store in the morning of February 26, 1995. Wilson was a co-worker of the victim.

The men surrounded Yost and dragged him into a cooler. They handcuffed him and bound his ankles.

Security tapes show the men then left the store and returned with an aluminum baseball bat. The tapes recorded the sounds of Yost being beaten. An autopsy report said pieces of the handcuffs were embedded in the victim's head.

While Yost was being beaten, Wilson put on his QuikTrip uniform and removed the safe in the store. He also waited on customers.

Brown and Alverson were executed in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Harjo, 16 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

For his last meal, Wilson had a pizza, pomegranate and candy bar.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)