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Death Row killer dies 13-minutes after lethal injection – with chilling last words

Death Row killer dies 13-minutes after lethal injection – with chilling last wordsJemaine Cannon, 51, was given a lethal injection on Thursday, July 20, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester after being convicted of killing a 20-year-old mum of two he had been living with after escaping a prison work centre

Oklahoma has executed a man this morning for stabbing a woman to death with a butcher knife in 1995 after escaping from a prison work centre.

51-year-old Jemaine Cannon received a lethal injection at 10.01am on Thursday, July 20, and was pronounced dead 12 minutes later at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. It’s the second execution in Oklahoma this year and the ninth since the state resumed lethal injections in 2021.

Asked if he had any last words, Cannon said: “Yes, I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Therefore I am saved. Thank you.”

Cannon was convicted of killing Sharonda Clark, a 20-year-old mother of two who Cannon had been living with at a Tulsa apartment after his escape weeks earlier from a prison work centre in southwest Oklahoma. He had been 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.

Cannon had been living with Sharonda Clark, 20, a mum-of-two after escaping from a prison work centre(Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board)

Ms Clark’s body was found after she was reported missing by a relative when she failed to pick her two young children up from daycare. She was reportedly found with three stab wounds to her neck.

Authorities at the time said she had died in a “violent struggle.” Cannon was arrested after he was found in Flint, Michigan, where he had fled to stay with an uncle. His mother had reportedly convinced him to turn himself into police after he told her Mr Clark was dead.

Late on Wednesday, July 19, a federal appeals court denied Cannon’s last-minute appeal. He was seeking a stay of execution, claiming, among other things, that he was Native American and not subject to Oklahoma jurisdiction.

Cannon claimed at a clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month that he had killed Ms Clark in self-defence. Speaking to the board via a video feed from the state penitentiary, he said: “I am deeply disheartened that the act of defending my life and the acts that she initiated against me ever happened.

“The ending of human life was never desired, planned or premeditated.”

Cannon’s attorney, Mark Henricksen, told the panel that Cannon’s trial and appellate attorneys were ineffective for not presenting evidence that supported that claim. His trial attorneys presented no witnesses or exhibits and rested after prosecutors presented their case, Mr Henricksen said.

In a statement, Mr 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,” Mr Henricksen said. “He sits in his cell a model prisoner.

Cannon’s attorney, Mark Henricksen, said he is “nearly deaf, blind, and nearing death by natural causes”(Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board)

“He is nearly deaf, blind, and nearing death by natural causes. The decision to proceed with this particular execution is obscene.”

However, prosecutors from the attorney general’s office and Ms Clark’s adult daughters urged the state to execute Cannon. Ms Clark’s eldest daughter, Yeh-Sehn White, told the Pardon and Patole Board last month that Cannon had never in 28 years expressed any remorse for his actions.

She urged the board to reject clemency, which it did on a 3-2 vote. She said: “Mercy was never given my mother. Even today he still points the blame at my mother for his actions.”

When Cannon’s clemency petition was denied, Ms Clark’s daughter, Mazurennae, who was just two at the time of her mother’s death, celebrated. She said: “Relief for my family, relief for my sister’s pain, relief for my grandmother that didn’t make it to see this day.”

Cannon was executed on the same day that Alabama planned to execute James Barber for the 2001 beating to death of a woman. It would be Alabama’s first lethal injection after a pause in executions following a string of problems with inserting the IVs

Oklahoma uses a three-drug lethal injection protocol. It begins with the sedative midazolam, followed by the paralytic vecuronium bromide and finally potassium chloride – which stops the heart.

The state had one of the nation’s busiest death chambers until problems in 2014 and 2015 led to a de facto moratorium. Richard Glossip was just hours from being executed in September 2015 when prison officials realised they had received the wrong lethal drug.

It was later learned that the same wrong drug had been used to execute an inmate in January 2015. The drug mix-ups followed a botched execution in April 2014.

During this incident, inmate Clayton Lockett struggled on a gurney before dying 43 minutes into his lethal injection. After that, the state’s prison chief ordered executioners to stop.

Daily Mirror

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