Oklahoma to execute man who killed store manager in robbery

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 09, 2014 6:01 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma on Thursday is scheduled to execute a man convicted of beating a convenience store manager to death with a baseball bat during a robbery in 1995.

If the execution goes ahead, Michael Lee Wilson, 38, would be 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 found bound and beaten to death inside the convenience store's cooler.

Two of those convicted for the murder in Tulsa 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 worked with 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 also recorded the sounds of Yost being beaten. An autopsy report said pieces of the handcuffs were embedded into the victim's head.

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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.

(Reporting by Heide Brandes; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Lisa Shumaker)