A Norman father convicted of killing his 22-year-old daughter will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman agreed with a jury’s October recommendation, sentencing Ronald McMullen to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“The defendant pulled a gun, a loaded gun, pointed it at his daughter and shot her at nearly point-blank range in the face,” Cleveland County First Assistant District Attorney Travis White said.
Two months after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder for the June 2017 killing, McMullen maintains his innocence. His public defense team argues the 22-year-old shot and killed herself.
“I would do anything, give anything to have her back,” McMullen said before Balkman handed down his sentence.
“I beg you in the name of Jesus Christ to have mercy on me,” he said.
During the eight-day trial, prosecutors argued forensic evidence proved there is no way Kailee could have taken her own life.
“The physical evidence, I would submit, was more than adequate to establish the state’s burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” White said.
During the sentencing hearing, Kailee’s maternal grandmother, Kathy Hooker, cried as she walked through her granddaughter’s murder.
“I can only imagine the fear Kailee must have felt,” she said, asking to the judge to sentence her son-in-law to the “full extent of the law.”
McMullen’s own mother, Bobby Tabor, also gave a victim impact statement in support of her son. She expressed frustration with some of Kailee’s life choices, telling the judge “I pray that you have mercy on my son today.”
Kailee graduated from Norman North in 2013 and was co-captain of the cheer team.
Her friends say she was an EMT and called her a beautiful soul with a passion for helping others.
A department of corrections pre-sentencing report said McMullen did not appear to accept responsibility for his actions and never showed remorse.
The convicted killer’s defense attorney, Michael Johnson, told the judge life with the possibility of parole was more reasonable, saying McMullen would be 85 years old before he could be considered for release.
He added, “you cannot be a threat to society when you’re 85 years old.”
Johnson said his client plans to appeal the decision.
“It’s perhaps some of the worse facts that you can have,” White said. “A father killing his 22-year-old daughter who has her whole life in front of her.”
McMullen has 10 days to appeal the verdict.