A death row inmate was executed Thursday for stabbing a Tulsa woman to death with a butcher knife after she escaped from a prison work center in 1995.
Jemaine Cannon, 51, received a lethal injection at 10:01 a.m. and was pronounced dead 12 minutes later at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. It is the second execution in Oklahoma this year and the ninth since the state resumes lethal injection in 2021.
Asked if he had the last word, he replied: ‘Yes, I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. So I am saved. Thank you.’
The killer’s last meal consisted of chicken breast, shredded lettuce, fried okra, sweet and smoky beans, cherry pie and Vernor’s ginger ale.
Cannon was convicted of killing 20-year-old Sharonda Clark, a mother of two with whom he had been living in a Tulsa apartment after escaping weeks earlier from a prison work center in southwestern Oklahoma.
He is serving a 15-year sentence for the violent assault of another woman who was left permanently injured after prosecutors say Cannon raped her and tortured her with a claw hammer, iron and kitchen toaster.
Jemaine Cannon, 51, was executed Thursday for the 1995 stabbing death of a Tulsa woman with a butcher knife. Image: Canon in February 2023 booking photo provided by Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Cannon was convicted of killing 20-year-old Sharonda Clark (pictured), a mother of two with whom he was living in a Tulsa apartment after escaping from a prison work center in southwestern Oklahoma weeks earlier.
A federal appeals court late Wednesday rejected Cannon’s last-minute appeal seeking a stay of execution in which Cannon claimed, among other things, that he is Native American and not subject to Oklahoma’s jurisdiction.
Kaman was executed on the same day Alabama planned to execute James Barber for the 2001 beating death of a woman.
It will be Alabama’s first lethal injection since a moratorium on executions following a string of problems inserting IVs.
Clarke’s eldest daughter Ye-Sen White and Clarke’s sister Shaya Duncan witnessed Cannon’s execution and described it as peaceful.
‘He died in a very auspicious way, in my opinion,’ White said. ‘Unfortunately my mum didn’t have that chance.’
Cannon claimed at a pardon hearing before the Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Paroles last month that he killed Clark in self-defense.
‘I am deeply disappointed that the act of saving my life and the acts he initiated against me ever happened,’ Cannon told the board via a video feed of the state sentencing hearing.
Cannon’s attorney, Mark Henriksen, also told the panel that Cannon’s trial and appellate attorneys were ineffective for not presenting evidence to support that claim. Henriksen said his trial attorneys presented no witnesses or exhibits and rested after prosecutors presented their case.
In a statement sent to The Associated Press this week, Henriksen called the state’s decision to execute Cannon a “historic atrocity.”
‘Mr. Canon has endured fifty years of abuse and neglect by those charged with her care,’ Henriksen said. ‘He is sitting in his cell a model prisoner. He is nearly deaf, blind and close to death from natural causes. The decision to proceed with this particular death penalty is obscene.’
But White and prosecutors from the attorney general’s office urged the state to execute Cannon, and the board rejected the pardon in a 3-2 vote.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said in a statement, ‘Sharonda Clark’s killer was finally executed this morning.’
‘My hope is that today’s move can bring some peace to Sharonda’s two daughters as well as the rest of her family and friends who loved her.’
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond speaks during an interview, Feb. 1, 2023, in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma uses a three-drug lethal injection protocol that begins with the sedative midazolam, then the paralytic vecuronium bromide, and finally potassium chloride, which stops the heart.
The state had one of the busiest death chambers in the country until a de facto suspension due to problems in 2014 and 2015.
Richard Glossip was hours away from execution in September 2015 when prison officials realized they had received the wrong lethal drug. It was later revealed that the same wrong drug was used to execute an inmate in January 2015.
The drug combinations followed a gruesome execution in April 2014 in which inmate Clayton Lockett struggled on a gurney 43 minutes before he died of his lethal injection — and after the state prison chief ordered the execution.
In January of this year, Oklahoma executed 62-year-old Scott Izember, who had been on death row since 2003 when he killed an elderly couple while they waited in their home to beat up his ex-girlfriend.
Eisember, who died by lethal injection at 10:15 a.m. on Jan. 12 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, was the first inmate to be executed in the state in 2023.
Scott Eisember, 62, who died by lethal injection at 10:15 a.m. inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, is the first inmate to be executed in the state in 2023.
AJ Cantrell was killed with a shotgun while the couple was in their home when Patsy Cantrell was shot and killed.
After shooting Patsy Cantrell, 70, and her husband AJ Cantrell, 76, inside their DPue, Oklahoma home, Izember went across the street and shot his ex-girlfriend’s 16-year-old son and assaulted his 63-year-old mother.
The man fled after the attack and led police on a 37-day manhunt that has been called the ‘largest manhunt’ in Oklahoma history.
Eisember broke into the couple’s home when he saw them leaving and killed them when they arrived home unexpectedly, using a shotgun found in the home to shoot Cantrell and killing Mr. Cantrell with the weapon.
He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for Cantrell’s murder and 150 years in prison for Cantrell’s death.
How does lethal injection work?
A state’s Department of Corrections administers all executions through an execution team.
The first step in administering a lethal injection is to place an IV line into the prisoner’s arm or back of the hand.
Once a line is established, a lineup of three to four drugs is administered, according to the Death Penalty Information Center:
An anesthetic that induces deep sleep; A paralytic agent as a muscle relaxant to stop breathing through paralysis of the diaphragm and lungs; And a toxic agent given in a lethal dose can disrupt the electrical signals necessary for the heart to function, leading to cardiac arrest and death within one to two minutes.
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