'2 Families Waited A Long Time' Phillip Hancock Executed For 2001 Murders

Oklahoma death row inmate Phillip Hancock was executed Thursday, Nov. 30. The Pardon and Parole board recommended clemency in a 3-2 vote in October, and the governor's office did not grant clemency Thursday morning.

Thursday, November 30th 2023, 4:29 pm

By: News On 6, News 9


Hancock was convicted of murdering Robert Jett and James Lynch in 2001. Hancock continued to argue that he acted in self-defense up until his execution on Thursday. The Pardon and Parole board recommended clemency in a 3-2 vote in October after Hancock's lawyer argued a new jury should take a look at the case.

There was a delay in proceedings that caused the execution to be over an hour late to the scheduled 10 a.m. Department of Corrections Executive Director Steven Harpe said that there was a legal request made by Hancock’s team that was received at 9:10 a.m.

"During the process, there’s a point in time where we make contact with the governor's office and the AG. At that time we get instructions on whether we are pausing or stopping or moving forward, and at that point, we were asked to pause," said Harpe.

At 10:10 a.m., DOC officials got the move forward command from the governor's General Council and Hancock was moved to the chamber, according to Harpe. News On 6 has reached out to the Governor's office about the pause.

Governor Stitt released a statement just after 3:30 p.m. on Thursday about his decision.

“These are always painfully difficult decisions to make and I don’t take this responsibility lightly. The justice that twelve jurors decided on twenty years ago was final today. I reviewed the many facts and materials presented in this case and considered that this was not his first conviction. I trust this brings some closure to all the families involved,” said Stittl.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond released a statement following the execution.

"Justice has been served for the murders of Robert Jett and James Lynch. I hope today brings a measure of peace to the families of the men whose lives were tragically cut short by Phillip Dean Hancock," said Drummond

Statements From The Families Of the Victims

The families of Robert Jett and James Lynch spoke to the media after the execution.

"Our families have been waiting 22 years. Two families, waiting a long time for this. I like to thank the State of Oklahoma, the prosecution, and everyone in the Attorney General's office. We've waited a long time for justice to be served and today it was served. Thank you," said Ryan Jett, Robert's brother.

"My name is Kayla. And I was James Vincent Lynch III's niece. I am reading something my mother Caroline Thomas, his youngest sister, and his goddaughter, wrote today:
"I am grateful that justice has been served according to God's will. And this 22-year nightmare can finally be laid to rest. I have prayed for his salvation for nearly two decades. And I can only hope that he chose to get his soul right with God before his window of opportunity closed for eternity. And on behalf of all of us. We want to say how thankful and grateful we are to the Criminal Appeals unit. There are so many people I'd like to name by name. They have been our rock through this. They have rode the waves with us and they have really just been there for us and we are thankful that justice has been served. Thank you."

Story Timeline: What Led Up To The Execution Of Phillip Hancock In Oklahoma?

Hancock's lawyers, alongside a few state lawmakers, submitted a declaration from Hancock’s girlfriend at the time, Katherine Quick, who admitted that she had arranged with Jett to lure Hancock to his house to be “taken care of.”

She was angry that Hancock disapproved of her drug use, according to a statement from Hancock’s attorney, Shawn Nolan.

“I should never have asked Bob to take care of Phil for me. I didn't mean to put Phil's life in danger, but I did. I wanted Bob to scare Phil, but I wasn't considering how volatile Bob could be," Quick said in the declaration.

She said she did not share this information until now because she was not mentally or emotionally capable of talking about it.

“I didn't tell Phil's trial team because I was in denial about my role in all of it all,” Quick said.

Hancock’s petition was also supported by a declaration of jury foreperson, who said the jury should have heard evidence of Jett and Lynch’s gang status and violent reputations, according to a press release. 

The governor's office reviewed the case and the recommendation but clemency was not granted.

This was the fourth time The Pardon and Parole Board has recommended clemency since the state resumed executions in 2021. The only time Governor Stitt has granted clemency was for Julius Jones in 2021. This was the final Oklahoma execution scheduled in 2023.


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