The 37-year-old prisoner, Robyn Leroy Parks, was put to death by injection, becoming the second person executed in Oklahoma since the High Court in 1976 let the states resume capital punishment.
Moments after the lethal drugs began to flow into him, Mr. Parks said lightheartedly, "I'm still awake." To his girlfriend, Debra Sutton, he said, "I love you, too, Debra." Last-Minute Appeal Rejected
Mr. Parks was executed for the fatal shooting in 1977 of Abdullah Ibrahim, 24, who worked at a gas station in Oklahoma City while attending college. Prosecutors said Mr. Parks's motive for the killing was his fear that Mr. Ibrahim would catch him using a stolen credit card. In conversations taped by the police days later, Mr. Parks told a friend that he had killed Mr. Ibrahim and said where the murder weapon was hidden.
Defense lawyers contended in their latest appeals that prosecutors had suppressed evidence and that Mr. Parks's original lawyer had been ineffective because he was dying of leukemia. But State Attorney General Susan Loving disputed both those assertions, and the Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal.
In 1988, a Federal appeals court upheld Mr. Parks's conviction but threw out his death sentence, ruling that the trial judge's instruction to the sentencing jury "to avoid any influence of sympathy" had been unfair. In 1990, the Supreme Court reinstated the sentence because Mr. Parks had failed to raise the issue earlier in the state courts. The High Court left unanswered the question of fairness in the judge's instruction to the jury.
In memory of Robyn.
-- Melody