Michael Smith Executed For 2 Oklahoma Murders

Michael Smith was executed by the State of Oklahoma for two murders that took place in 2002

According to court documents Michael Smith went looking for a man who he believed was talking to the police about his illegal activities. When Smith arrived at the home he did not find the man he was looking for so he would fatally shoot the man’s mother Janet Moore

On the same day Michael Smith would rob a conveience store where he would shoot and kill the clerk Sharath Pulluru

Michael Smith would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

On April 4 2024 Michael Smith would be put to death by lethal injection

Michael Smith Execution

A man convicted of killing two people in Oklahoma more than two decades ago was executed Thursday, marking the state’s first execution of the year. Michael Dewayne Smith received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester and was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m., the Department of Corrections confirmed to CBS News.

The execution followed the state’s controversial decision to restore capital punishment in 2021 after bungled executions called its protocols into question.

When asked if he had any last words, Smith responded, “Nah, I’m good,” according to the Associated Press.

Smith, 41, was sentenced to death in Oklahoma after his convictions two decades ago in the murders of Janet Moore, a 41-year-old mother, and Sharath Pulluru, a 22-year-old store clerk. The shootings that killed them were carried out separately on Feb. 22, 2002, while Smith was already on the run in the wake of a prior killing, authorities have said.

Oklahoma’s execution process lasted just over 10 minutes on Thursday after beginning at 10:09 a.m., said the state prisons director, Steven Harpe, in a statement obtained by CBS News. Smith was declared unconscious at 10:14 a.m., according to that statement. A spiritual adviser joined Smith in the death chamber at his request, the director said. The inmate did not request a last meal

“Today’s event and the circumstances that led to it have affected many people — especially the family and friends of victims Janet Moore and Sharath Pulluru,” Harpe said. “As an agency, we carried out the court’s orders according to our high standards of professionalism and respect for those in our custody, ensuring dignity for everyone involved in the process.”

Smith tried to appeal his sentence multiple times throughout most of his imprisonment, records show. Among other arguments made in his defense, Smith and his legal team have insisted that he is not responsible for either of the murders for which he was convicted, despite his previous confession to both crimes. They pushed for clemency on the grounds of an apparent former substance abuse problem and intellectual disability, since a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the latter would prevent Oklahoma from executing him. None of Smith’s appeals were successful in court.

Ahead of a hearing in March that sealed Smith’s fate, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond put out a formal request to the state’s Pardon and Parole Board, asking them to deny his plea for clemency.

“Michael Smith’s outrageous claims of innocence have been repeatedly rejected in court,” Drummond said in a statement. “He is a ruthless killer who has confessed to his crimes on multiple occasions. There is no doubt in my mind that his request for clemency should be denied.”

Drummond alleged that evidence found at the scenes of both murders corroborated Smith’s confession. He also dismissed the inmate’s plea for lenience based on a supposed intellectual disability and noted that Smith’s IQ scores rendered that claim “statutorily ineligible.”

At the hearing, Smith denied his involvement in the murders but shared his “deepest apologies and deepest sorrows to the families” of the victims, the Associated Press reported.

“I didn’t commit these crimes. I didn’t kill these people,” Smith said in emotional remarks. “I was high on drugs. I don’t even remember getting arrested.”

The parole board ultimately denied Smith’s clemency petition in a 4-1 vote, and his execution was scheduled to move forward.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals also rejected an emergency stay of execution for Smith earlier this week, CBS affiliate KOTV reported. His third and final emergency plea to the criminal appeals court came on the heels of others in recent months that were denied, including one motion that sought post-conviction DNA testing, according to the station.

The court said in its opinion that conducting more tests would not change the validity of Smith’s conviction, KOTV reported, noting the appeals court’s references to “a very detailed, highly corroborated confession” that Smith gave to police, which was allegedly supported by other confessions and crime scene evidence.

CBS News contacted the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for comment but did not receive an immediate reply.

Smith was among 43 prisoners on death row in Oklahoma. He was the first executed there this year, and the twelfth since the state resumed capital punishments after a seven-year break in 2021. That hiatus came in response to a string of botched lethal injections in 2014 and 2015, particularly the bungled execution of Charles Warner, a former death row inmate who witnesses said suffered excessively in the death chamber. It was later discovered that Oklahoma had used an incorrect and unauthorized drug in the lethal injection cocktail used for Warner’s execution.

Oklahoma agreed to pause executions as investigations into what went wrong got underway. But the state went on to resume an execution schedule in late 2021, months before a federal trial was set to examine its lethal injection protocol. The state botched its first execution, of former inmate John Grant, by lethal injection upon its return to the schedule.

Oklahoma adopted its own state policy authorizing capital punishment in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The first execution did not happen until 1990, and the state has put 123 prisoners to death since then. One federal execution has also been carried out in Oklahoma.

Another Oklahoma death row inmate, 60-year-old Richard Glossip, is currently trying to appeal his sentence and has so far gained more headway with state officials, including the attorney general, who have openly argued his innocence. The Supreme Court agreed in January to hear Glossip’s case after Drummond claimed issues with his trial should invalidate the prisoner’s conviction and sentence.


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