Oklahoma Denies Clemency For Baby Killer On Death Row

Oklahoma's pardon and parole board voted against recommending clemency for convicted baby killer Benjamin Cole, who was sentenced to death for brutally killing his nine-month-old daughter in 2002.

Benjamin Cole execution
Baby killer Benjamin Cole has been denied clemency as is likely to be executed in late October

The board issued a vote of 4 to 1 against the reprieve petition, meaning convicted baby killer Benjamin Cole will likely be executed via lethal injection in late October.

Oklahoma pursuing the death penalty was supported by the family members of the mother of baby Brianna who was violently killed by the hands of Cole.

The victim's aunt, Donna Daniel, told the board: "The first time I got to see Brianna in person was lying in a casket. "Do you know how horrible it is to see a nine-month-old baby in a casket?

"This baby deserves justice. Our family deserves justice."

State officials showed their appreciation for the recommendation, saying that proceeding with the execution was the right thing to do. Oklahoma attorney general, John O'Connor, said: "I am grateful that the board denied Cole's request for executive clemency.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the other members of Brianna's family."

Attorneys working on behalf of Cole didn't dispute that the 57-year-old brutally murdered his daughter, tearing her aorta and breaking her spine.

However, they argued that Cole is severely mentally ill, after previously being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and suffering a growing lesion on his brain, therefore deeming him unfit for execution.

The attorneys told the parole board how Cole refused medical treatment, ignored personal hygiene, hoards food, can no longer walk and lives in a horrific state in a dark cell with almost no contact with fellow inmates or members of staff.

Cole's attorney, Tom Hird, said in a statement on Tuesday: "The evidence of Mr Cole's severe mental illness presented during today's clemency hearing reinforces the need for a full trial on his competency."

Despite the recommendation by the board, the execution of Cole could still be stopped, as a county judge is considering a trial to determine whether the man is fit to be executed.

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