Steven Oken Executed Serial Killer In Maryland

Steven Oken was a serial killer who was executed by the State of Maryland for three murders

According to court documents Steven Oken would murder his new wife Dawn Marie Garvin by shooting her twice in the head. Two weeks later Oken would sexually assault and murder his sister in law Patricia Hirt. Oken would flee Maryland and would murder Lori Ward, the desk clerk at his Maine hotel

Steven Oken would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Steven Oken would be executed by lethal injection on June 17 2004

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Steven Oken - Maryland execution

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When Was Steven Oken Executed

Steven Oken was executed on June 17 2004

Steven Oken Case

Almost 20 years after raping and murdering his first of three victims, Steven Oken is dead. The state of Maryland executed the man sentenced to death in 1991 for murdering three people Thursday night. A Maryland prison spokeswoman confirmed Oken’s execution around 9:35 p.m.

“Steven Howard Oken was executed tonight at 9:18 p.m.,” said Rosa Cruz, a state prison spokeswoman. “There was never any resistance from Mr. Oken. There were two or three moderate breaths that I saw come from his chest, and there was never any indication that anything was dripping from the IV, which was one of the points of contention in this,” John Patti, a media witness from WBAL-AM 1090, said. “It was quite obvious that things were very peaceful for Mr. Oken through the entire process, which lasted about seven or eight minutes,” Patti added.

Oken (pictured, right) was sentenced to death for the 1987 murder and rape of Dawn Marie Garvin (pictured, left), a 20-year-old newlywed. He also was convicted of killing Patricia Hirt, his wife’s sister, and Lori Ward, a motel clerk in Maine, during a 15-day spree. During a press conference just after 10 p.m., Dawn Marie Garvin’s mother, Betty, said Oken “has been brought to justice.” “It has been a long 17-year rollercoaster ride. My family has been put through hell in the past 17 years,” Betty Romano said. “This past two weeks has been the worst two weeks since we lost Dawn.” She thanked God, family members, the state attorney general and the U.S. Supreme Court. She also thanked the governor for his unwavering support. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank that man [Ehrlich] very much because he stuck to his word. He kept his word. He didn’t wimp out at the last minute. He’s a very strong man and I don’t have any problems supporting him in the future, ever,” Mrs. Romano (pictured, right) said.

At one point during the execution, Oken’s toe twitched a “mile a minute,” Mrs. Romano said. She said she saw little else, commenting that her view of the inmate was his toes and his stomach. “He was aware until he got that first shot,” she said. “I could tell by the reaction of his body.” Garvin’s brother, Fred A. Romano, said justice has been served. He said the families of the victims are elated, and it’s time to move on. Asked whether Oken’s death would bring any healing to his family, Fred Romano said: “It started at 9:18. The burden’s been lifted. Oken is dead.” “The only problem is that Steven Oken died in peace. My daughter didn’t have the luxury to die in peace the way he died tonight,” Mrs. Romano said. “My family’s been through hell, and it finally came back tonight.”

Defense Efforts To Delay Execution Run Short

The execution comes after a weeklong legal fight involving the defense and last-minute appeals for delays. Before the execution, Oken’s attorney spoke to the death row inmate. “The last thing that we said was I gave him a hug threw the cell, ‘You are not alone. You will not stand alone, I will be with you until the last breath of your life,’ ” Oken’s attorney, Fred Warren Bennett, said.

After the U.S. Supreme Court vacated Oken’s stay of execution Wednesday night, his lawyers pursued the last remaining options to delay their client’s death. But, earlier Thursday evening, a federal appeals court denied Oken’s last pending motion. And, in denying clemency, Gov. Bob Ehrlich issued a statement saying that his sympathies “lie with the families of all those involved in these heinous crimes.” “The death sentence imposed on Mr. Oken has been reviewed and affirmed by several courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States,” Ehrlich noted.

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., voted unanimously early Thursday evening to reject Oken’s claim that because executioners might have to cut deeply into his flesh to administer the lethal drugs, his death could be unconstitutionally cruel.

Outside the SuperMax prison, a handful of supporters and opponents of capital punishment continued to demonstrate, as they have all week. Those rallying in favor of capital punishment included some of Garvin’s relatives. According to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections, the last person executed in the state was Tyrone Gilliam, 32, by lethal injection on Nov. 16, 1998, for murder in Baltimore County

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