, Muskogee, OK

June 17, 2013

Death date near for Le Flore County couple's killer

Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It’s been almost 13 years since Jo Milligan’s sister and brother-in-law were stabbed to death in their rural Le Flore County home, but Milligan still feels the void their deaths created.

“I miss having a sister. I struggle when someone asks if I have a sister,” Milligan wrote in an April 24 letter to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board in which she described the impact the deaths of Gloria Plummer, 70, and Curtis Plummer, 73, had on her.

“Glo (or Gloria) was my big sister — my only sister — my only sibling. And Curt became my brother when I was 5 years old,” Milligan wrote. “When shopping and I pass birthday cards, Valentine cards, etc., always the ones for ‘Sister’ reach out to me. And I cry in the card aisle.”

Family members wrote to the five-member board after the man convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the case, James Lewis DeRosa, 36, sought clemency and a reduction of his sentence to life in prison. He is scheduled to die Tuesday by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

Janet Tolbert, the victims’ daughter, wrote that she still has nightmares after discovering her parents’ bodies in their home in Poteau following their deaths on Oct. 2, 2000.

“I saw my 70- and 73-year-old parents laying in pools of blood that went through the carpet to the cement foundation, with both of their throats slashed from ear-to-ear and stab wounds all over their 70-year-old bodies,” Tolbert stated in a letter to the board.

“With this description of the scene in your mind, why should James DeRosa have a second chance at life again?” Tolbert wrote.

Prosecutors alleged that DeRosa, who had worked at the Plummers’ ranch, and a co-defendant, John Eric Castleberry, talked their way into the victims’ home, slashed their throats and left with $73 and the couple’s truck.

Castleberry, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in an agreement with prosecutors in which he testified against DeRosa.

The prosecutor in the case, former District Attorney Rob Wallace, wrote that while practicing law in eastern Oklahoma over 25 years, “I have not encountered a more heinous murder than that of Curtis and Gloria Plummer.

“The physical evidence in the crime scene bespoke a nightmarish experience for the victims beginning when Gloria let a trusted former employee into their house.”