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February 21, 2013

Death row inmate waives hearing

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma death row inmate scheduled to be executed next month has waived his right to ask the state Pardon and Parole Board for clemency, the board’s general counsel said Wednesday.

Steven Ray Thacker, 42, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in Oklahoma in a multi-state crime spree in which he was accused of killing three people in three different states.

In Oklahoma, Thacker received the death penalty after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the December 1999 stabbing death of Laci Dawn Hill, 25, of Bixby.

Thacker has the legal right to ask the Pardon and Parole Board to commute his death sentence to life in prison. But the board’s general counsel, Tracy George, told The Associated Press by email that Thacker waived his clemency hearing.

A federal appeals court upheld Thacker’s Oklahoma conviction and sentence in April, rejecting an argument that he suffers from bipolar disorder and lacked the mental capacity to waive his right to a jury trial.

Thacker is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester on March 12. Thacker’s defense attorney, Randy Bauman, declined to comment Wednesday.

In the Oklahoma slaying, Hill had advertised a pool table for sale at her Tulsa County home and Thacker answered the ad. Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents said Thacker admitted to pulling a knife on Hill and demanding money. He also allegedly said he took a credit card from her, forced her into his car and drove her to a cabin in Chouteau, where he allegedly raped and strangled her.

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