Oklahoma prepares to execute man for 1995 slaying of Tulsa woman
Jul 19, 2023, 9:04 PM
McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma is preparing to execute a man Thursday for stabbing a Tulsa woman to death with a butcher knife in 1995 after his escape from a prison work center.
Jemaine Cannon, 51, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. It will be the resumed lethal injections in 2021.
Cannon was convicted of killing 20-year-old Sharonda Clark, a mother of two with whom Cannon had been living at an apartment in Tulsa after his escape weeks earlier from a prison work center in southwest Oklahoma. At the time, Cannon was serving a 15-year sentence for the violent assault of another woman who suffered permanent injuries after prosecutors say Cannon raped her and beat her viciously with a claw hammer, iron and kitchen toaster.
A last-minute appeal seeking a stay of execution in which Cannon claims, among other things, that he is Native American and not subject to Oklahoma jurisdiction was pending late Wednesday in a federal appeals court, records show.
Cannon claimed at a clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month that he killed Clark in self-defense.
“I am deeply disheartened that the act of defending my life and the acts that she initiated against me ever happened,” Cannon told the board via a video feed from the state penitentiary. “The ending of human life was never desired, planned or premeditated.”
Cannon’s attorney, Mark Henricksen, also told the panel that Cannon’s trial and appellate attorneys were ineffective for not presenting evidence that supported his self-defense claim. His trial attorneys presented no witnesses or exhibits and rested after prosecutors presented their case, Henricksen said.
In a statement sent to The Associated Press this week, Henricksen said the state’s decision to proceed with Cannon’s execution amounts to “historic barbarism.”
“Mr. Cannon has endured abuse and neglect for fifty years by those charged with his care,” Henricksen said. “He sits in his cell a model prisoner. He is nearly deaf, blind, and nearing death by natural causes. The decision to proceed with this particular execution is obscene.”
But prosecutors from the attorney general’s office and Clark’s adult daughters have urged the state to execute Cannon.
Clark’s eldest daughter, Yeh-Sehn White, told the Pardon and Parole Board last month that Cannon had never in 28 years expressed any remorse for his actions and urged the board to reject clemency, which it did on a 3-2 vote.
“Mercy was never given my mother,” she said. “Even still today he points the blame at my mother for his actions.”
Oklahoma currently uses a problems in 2014 and 2015 led to a de facto moratorium.
Richard Glossip was execute an inmate in January 2015.
The drug mix-ups followed a botched execution in April 2014 in which inmate Clayton Lockett struggled on a gurney before dying 43 minutes into his lethal injection — and after the state’s prisons chief ordered executioners to stop.