The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted unanimously Monday to deny clemency for a man facing execution for killing two campers in southern Oklahoma nearly 14 years ago.
Board members heard two hours of testimony from lawyers, a medical expert, the victims’ family members and the inmate, Michael P. DeLozier, via video connection before making their decision.
Phyllis Morgan, widow of victim Paul Steven Morgan, let out a muffled cheer and embraced a family member after the vote.
The hearing was one of the final avenues of relief left for DeLozier, 32, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection July 9 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Had the board decided in favor of clemency, the recommendation would have been forwarded to Gov. Brad Henry, who would’ve had the final say in whether the death sentence was commuted to life in prison with or without parole.
A McCurtain County jury convicted him of two counts of first-degree murder for the Sept. 24, 1995, killings of Morgan, 54, and Orville Lewis Bullard, 60, at a campsite along the Glover River.
“I’m hopeful that the families know how remorseful I am for what I’ve done to them,” DeLozier said via video connection from death row. “The way I affected so many people, that revelation made me want to reach out the families and apologize to them.”
DeLozier’s attorneys, Randy Bauman and Sarah Jernigan, argued that DeLozier’s use of methamphetamines and abuse at the hands of his stepfather played roles in his behavior. They played a DVD featuring DeLozier’s brother, Douglas Gilbert, who described how their father, John Gilbert, used and sold drugs and was abusive to the children.
John Gilbert “used boards, extension cords, measuring sticks” to hit the children and for DeLozier, “everyday to him was just survival,” Douglas Gilbert said.
Douglas Gilbert also said he and DeLozier were made to do drug transactions for their father.
Dr. Mary Holley told the board that DeLozier’s stepfather would make him ingest drugs, and she played a DVD showing how meth can affect brain development and function.
“He was given ’black mollies’ to stay awake at school after being up all night,” Holley said.
But Assistant Attorney General Robert Whitaker, who argued against clemency for the state, asked why law enforcement and child welfare officials weren’t notified about the abuse.
“Now, Johnny Gilbert, this man’s stepfather ... has now grown to this spawn of Satan,” Whitaker said. “Where are the police reports if he is beating this kid two or three times a week and feeding him drugs?”
According to court transcripts, the then-19-year-old DeLozier and some of his friends encountered Morgan and Bullard at a campsite along the Glover River the day before the killings. DeLozier decided he wanted to steal the men’s generator and trade it for methamphetamine.
When DeLozier and two of his friends returned to the men’s campsite, they fired into the camper and ordered the men to get out.
According to prosecutors, DeLozier assured the men nothing would happen before shooting them both with a .22-caliber rifle and a shotgun.
Morgan’s widow found the men’s burned bodies when she returned to the camping ground, a memory she tearfully recounted to board members.
“We don’t appear to you all today to seek vengeance,” she said. “We come to ask for justice in the killing of our loved ones.
“I don’t feel sorry for him. I don’t feel sorry for him at all.”
After the vote, the family members declined comment.
Bauman also declined to speak after the meeting.
The Associated Press
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