The Oklahoma execution of inmate Michael Hooper, 39, proceeded as scheduled tonight despite an appeal on the convicted killer’s behalf alleging that the prison’s execution method was unconstitutional.
Hooper was sentenced to death in the killings of his girlfriend Cynthia Jarman, 23, and her two small children — 5-year-old Tonya and 3-year-old Timothy. In December, Hooper is said to have driven the three to a field in the state, shooting each in the head two times before burying the woman and her two children in shallow graves.
Three days after the murders and amid allegations the couple had a relationship that was deemed “physically violent,” the bodies of the three were found in the graves in which they were buried. Hooper, the inmate executed in Oklahoma today, was convicted of the three murders in 1995, and sentenced to death.
Between that time and today’s Oklahoma execution, Hooper’s sentence was once overturned after a judge ruled that Hooper’s initial counsel was ineffective in the case. Hooper then waived his right to be re-sentenced by a jury, and, in 2004, a judge reinstated the sentence of death.
It seems that Hooper had a change of heart as his death sentenced loomed, and last week challenged the state’s use of phenobarbital in the Oklahoma execution, as the drug could possibly cause pain when administered. His objection that the sentence as unconstitutional was rejected, and the execution went ahead as scheduled tonight.
Per Reuters, the inmate’s last words were:
“I just want to thank God for such an excellent sendoff,” Hooper said before the execution. “Also, my family, for standing by me throughout all this. I appreciate their being there for me through the hardships.”
Just prior to the Oklahoma execution, Hooper also requested forgiveness “for all those that need it – you know who you are.” Do you think a death row inmate should be able to fight their sentence at the last minute?