Death Row: Terry Short speaks

Friday, June 13th 2008, 7:29 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

Oklahoma will execute its first inmate since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a ruling on the use of lethal injection back in April. Terry Lyn Short is slated to die by the procedure on Tuesday after killing a man with a fire ball in 1995.

The H-unit of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary has been home for Short since 1995. He was on lockdown for several hours a day, only emerging to eat and exercise. Although he said he's sorry for the death of a Japanese exchange student, Short believes his punishment is too harsh.

"This wasn't just something I had in my mind to do," Short said. "I didn't even know the guy."

The student, Ken Yamamoto, was sleeping in an apartment directly above this one Short's ex-girlfriend lived in. After a breakup, Short threw a fire bomb inside his former home. His ex didn't die, but Yamamoto did.

Short admitted for the first time last month during a clemency hearing that he did indeed cause the fire, but he claims he doesn't remember the events of that day.

"Basically, I was up for two days or three days on drugs," Short said. "I was on drugs every day, but more so because of the personal problems I was going through."

Short said he had a rough childhood and struggled through personal problems. The clemency board rejected the argument and denied his appeal. After the Supreme Court upheld the lethal injection as an appropriate method execution, Short knew his time on earth was coming to an end.

"I'm not saying I shouldn't be in prison for my crimes," Short said. "I'm just saying the death penalty isn't the answer for it."

Short exhausted all of his appeals, but even when facing death, Short is hoping those testing the limits of the law will learn from his mistakes.

"Better think twice and make the right choices," Short said. "Prison life and death is not the answer."