MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

April 20, 2014

Time running out for inmate fighting execution

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma death row inmate who’s been trying for months to find out more about the drugs the state would use to kill him faces a Tuesday execution unless a court intervenes.

Clayton Lockett, 38, was convicted of shooting Stephanie Nieman, 19, with a sawed-off shotgun and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in rural Kay County in 1999. He has filed court papers to learn more about Oklahoma’s execution protocol but has not challenged his guilt or sentence.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals differ on who should address requests for stays of execution. Lockett filed a lawsuit seeking information about the drugs with death-row inmate Charles Warner, who is scheduled to die April 29.

An Oklahoma County District Court judge has ruled that Lockett and Warner are entitled to know who made the drugs to be used at their executions. That ruling is being appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Barring intervention, Lockett will be executed at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

Lockett refused to appear at his February clemency hearing, where the board voted 4-1 to deny his request.

According to prosecutors, on the night of the killing, Lockett, one of his cousins and a friend entered Bobby Bornt’s home in Perry seeking repayment of a $20 debt. They bound Bornt and beat him with a shotgun while his 9-month-old son slept in the next room.

Nieman and a friend dropped by to invite Bornt to a party and were subsequently bound with duct tape. Nieman’s friend was beaten and raped by two of the men before the victims were loaded into two pickup trucks and driven to a rural dirt road.

Lockett admitted in the confession that he originally intended to kill the three adults because he feared police would learn he had violated terms of his probation from a previous felony.

After Nieman said she would tell police, he forced her to kneel while Shawn Mathis, a co-defendant, took about 20 minutes to dig a shallow grave. Lockett shot the girl in the shoulder, pushed her into the grave and shot her again in the chest before ordering Mathis to bury her alive.

According to an attorney general’s report on the crime, the three laughed about how tough the woman was as the dirt piled up atop her.

At the time of the killings, Lockett was a four-time convicted felon. He’s also been cited for bad behavior several times in prison since the conviction.

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