An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  - Gandhi

OK-CADP events mark Oklahoma’s sixth execution in 2012

Demonstration and silent vigil on Dec. 4 for George Ochoa

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has set an execution date for George Ochoa, a 38-year-old Oklahoma State Penitentiary death row inmate. Ochoa is scheduled to be executed December 4 at 6 p.m. in the death chamber at OSP in McAlester.

If carried out, Ochoa will be the sixth person executed in Oklahoma, in 2012, all killed by lethal injection. Gary Roland Welch was executed on January 5, Timothy Shaun Stemple was executed on March 12, Michael Bascom Selsor was executed on May 1, Michael Edward Hooper was executed on August 14, and Garry Thomas Allen was executed on November 6.

Ochoa was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1993 murders of Francisco Morales 38, and his wife, Maria Yanez. Ochoa’s accomplice, Osvaldo Torres, was also found guilty and sentenced to death. Former Gov. Brad Henry commuted Torres’ sentence in 2004 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Ochoa alleged he was mentally retarded at the time of the crime and cannot be executed. In 2005 a jury found that Ochoa was not mentally retarded. His defense lawyers had argued that Ochoa’s IQ had risen since the crime. They also contend that Oklahoma has incorrectly interpreted the Supreme Court ruling restricting the execution of those suffering from mental disabilities.

Ochoa’s attorney, James Hankins, said he has found it increasingly difficult to communicate with his client, and that a psychologist hired to conduct an evaluation was unable to reach a determination on his competency because Ochoa was unable to participate in tests. “Mr. Ochoa’s mental state has, in my view, been declining for some time,” Hankins said. “He seems to have some delusions about being shocked.”

Ochoa has been in custody at OSP since April 1, 1996, less than two weeks after he was convicted of first degree murder.

According to the Associated Press, during Ochoa’s recent clemency hearing via video feed from the State Penitentiary in McAlester, Ochoa said, “I feel like I could still do something. I have a daughter, and I feel like I could still be a part of her life. I’ve never got to touch her.”

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is asking citizens to stand with them outside the Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday, December 4, at 5:15 pm to protest this cruel and inhumane act by the Oklahoma government.

Lydia Polley, OK-CADP co-chair said, “As Oklahoma State Prison gears up for yet another state-sanctioned murder, the execution of George Ochoa, we send our thoughts and prayers to the families of Francisco Morales and Maria Yanez, George Ochoa’s family, and those who must carry out this execution. Join us as we stand in front of the Governor’s mansion Tuesday, December 4, at 5:15 pm in our “Don’t Kill for Me” demonstration and transition into silent vigil at the appointed hour of 6 pm until death is pronounced.”

Barring an act of mercy and caution by Gov. Mary Fallin, George Ochoa will be executed at 6 pm, on Tuesday, December 4, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

“When someone is executed by the state, she or he is killed in my name,” said Margaret Cox, OK-CADP board member. “We all have a responsibility not to let that happen. This action should not go unnoticed by the people of Oklahoma.”

Upon Ochoa’s passing, the state will issue a death certificate as it does for every person who dies in Oklahoma. For George Ochoa, the cause of death will be listed as homicide, which is the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another.

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