Saturday, July 26 2014 2:02 AM EDT2014-07-26 06:02:47 GMT
Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit at a Philadelphia street corner, killing three kids and seriously injuring two women.More >>
Police were searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three kids and critically injuring their mother and the...More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 12:45 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:45:52 GMT
The Ohio State marching band is moving forward without its director; a day after he was fired they're performing with the Columbus Symphony in what's often considered the band's unofficial season kickoff.More >>
Having forced out a beloved football coach and watched its president retire after a series of verbal gaffes, Ohio State University again finds itself grabbing headlines with the firing of a celebrated marching band...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:56:40 GMT
Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.More >>
A 10-month-old Kansas girl died after being strapped for more than two hours inside a sweltering car, and police arrested a foster parent who said he'd forgotten about her until something on TV jogged his memory, an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 11:23 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:23:25 GMT
A federal judge has dismissed a Wyoming man's lawsuit claiming a group secretly found the missing airplane of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it could continue to raise...More >>
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a Wyoming man's claims that an aircraft recovery group secretly found wreckage of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart's missing airplane in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:33:36 GMT
U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent - and unusual - request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't...More >>
U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:35:42 GMT
A large family that lives at the shore and suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy will share a $20 million lottery jackpot that one of the 17 siblings said will be "a great pick-me-up."More >>
A lottery-playing tradition started by the matriarch of a large New Jersey shore family paid off for her 17 children this week when the group won a $20 million jackpot that will partly be used to help family members...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:32:57 GMT
An 80-year-old man who came home to find two burglars said he shot and killed one of them despite her pleas that she was pregnant, but it's the woman's alleged accomplice who has been arrested on suspicion...More >>
Prosecutors Friday were waiting for the results of a police investigation into the killing of a burglar by an 80-year-old California homeowner who says he shot the woman in the back as she fled his home and ran down an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:15:50 GMT
A federal appeals court is upholding a Florida law that restricts what doctors can discuss about guns with their patients.More >>
A Florida law restricting what doctors can tell patients about gun ownership was deemed to be constitutional Friday by a federal appeals court, which said it legitimately regulates professional conduct and doesn't...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:05:50 GMT
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures.More >>
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures. They're grocery store owners.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:44:45 GMT
Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said. Two...More >>
Two men carjacked a woman at gunpoint but soon sped out of control, killing three children Friday as they plowed into a group selling fruit to raise money for their church, Philadelphia police said.More >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
By JIM SALTER Associated Press
BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) - A former methamphetamine dealer was executed Wednesday for killing three people in remote northern Missouri out of fear that they would report his drug activity to police.
John Middleton, 54, died Wednesday night from an injection of pentobarbital, the sixth execution in Missouri this year. Only Florida and Texas, with seven each, have performed more executions.
Middleton was convicted of killing Randy "Happy" Hamilton and Stacey Hodge in early June 1995, then Alfred Pinegar several days later. He maintained to the end that someone else was responsible for the slayings.
"You are killing an innocent man," Middleton said in his final statement.
State officials, including Gov. Jay Nixon, disagreed.
"Tonight has brought a conclusion to a case that illustrates how methamphetamine can have such a monstrous impact on so many lives," Nixon said in a statement.
Michael Black, Pinegar's uncle, questioned why it took so long for the execution to occur.
"Nineteen years seems like a long time to wait for justice," he said following the execution.
Middleton was a small-time meth dealer in sparsely populated northern Missouri in the mid-1990s. After several drug suspects were arrested on June 10, 1995, he allegedly told a friend: "The snitches around here are going to start going down."
A day later, according to court records, Middleton and his girlfriend met Hamilton and Hodge on a gravel road. Prosecutors said Middleton shot and killed them both and hid the bodies in the trunk of Hamilton's car.
Pinegar, another meth dealer according to police, was shot in the face on June 23, 1995. His body was found in a field near Bethany.
Acquaintances say Middleton told them he killed all three. Police also had eyewitness accounts of Middleton purchasing ammunition in the hours before Pinegar's death. Middleton was convicted in 1997.
Middleton's girlfriend, Maggie Hodges, is serving life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in all three deaths.
In February, a man whose name has not been disclosed because he fears retribution signed an affidavit saying that two rival meth dealers drove him to a rural area soon after Pinegar's death and accused him of being a snitch. He said the men showed him Pinegar's body, saying: "There's already been three people killed. You want to be number four?"
The witness said the two dealers then beat him unconscious with a baseball bat and raped his girlfriend.
Neither police nor the courts were swayed by the new witness. Harrison County Sheriff Josh Eckerson agreed to take a new look at the case but said his investigation found no evidence to back up the claims. He is convinced that Middleton was the real killer. Several court appeals claiming innocence were turned away.
Concerns about whether Middleton was mentally fit for execution, though, spurred a long delay in the execution, which occurred 19 hours after it was originally scheduled, at 12:01 a.m.
A federal judge granted a stay of execution late Tuesday, citing a need for a hearing to determine if Middleton was mentally ill. Courts have held it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally ill.
A federal appeals court overturned the stay later Wednesday and neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor the Missouri Supreme Court would halt the execution.
Missouri has executed one man each month since November, with the exception of May, when the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of Russell Bucklew. Bucklew suffers from a rare congenital condition that causes weakened and malformed blood vessels as well as tumors in his nose and throat. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals plans a hearing on Sept. 9 to determine if lethal injection could cause him to suffer because of his medical condition.
Another execution is scheduled for Aug. 6, when Michael Shane Worthington is scheduled to be put to death for the rape and killing of a suburban St. Louis neighbor in 1995.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
7401 N. Kelley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73111
OKLAHOMA CITY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own News9.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant
news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state
including Oklahoma City's Own.