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2 convicted killers executed in Texas, Oklahoma

Thursday, January 22, 2009 | 8:57 p.m. CST

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Two condemned killers were put to death Thursday evening in Oklahoma and Texas, becoming the nation's third and fourth executions of the year.

Reginald Perkins, a convicted rapist and suspected serial killer, was executed in Texas for strangling and robbing his stepmother in Fort Worth more than eight years ago. About an hour before he was executed, Perkins summoned a prison official to his cell and gave him a statement professing his innocence.

"They didn't link me to nothing. I did not kill my stepmom," he said. "I loved her. Texas is going to kill an innocent man."

Perkins was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m., eight minutes after the lethal drugs were administered.

The victim's family said in a statement that they were grateful for the execution.

"God will deal with him now," they said. "What a great state to live in to know justice was served."

Perkins was the second convicted killer executed in two days in the nation's most active death penalty state. Three inmates are scheduled to die in Texas next week.

Perkins' lawyer, William Harris, said his appeals had been exhausted. The state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday unanimously rejected a clemency request to commute the sentence.

Perkins was condemned for the slaying of 64-year-old Gertie Perkins, whose body was found in the trunk of her Cadillac in 2000. He led his father and police to the body.

He had served time on rape and attempted rape convictions of two 12-year-old girls in Ohio. He was also a suspect in the strangling of two Cleveland women and a man whose daughter Perkins was convicted of trying to rape.

A DNA database last year also tied Perkins to the 1991 strangling of two Texas women.

Perkins had said he was framed and that he pleaded guilty to the rape charges because of bad advice from a lawyer.

In Oklahoma, a man convicted of beating a convenience store clerk to death with a baseball bat nearly 14 years ago was put to death at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Darwin Demond Brown, 32, apologized to the family of the victim as they watched, and thanked his family for their love and support.

"I apologize for anybody I hurt," Brown said. "I'm sorry to everybody."

He was pronounced dead at 6:11 p.m., six minutes after receiving the lethal injection.

The victim's wife, Angie Houser-Yost, said she planned to attend the executions of Brown's co-defendants who also are on death row.

"What they did, they have caused a lot of pain to a lot of people," Houser-Yost said. "I just wish his parents the best of luck."

Brown's attorney, James Hankins, said his client had exhausted all of his appeals. The state Pardon and Parole Board denied clemency for Brown on Jan. 7.

Brown and three other men were convicted of killing Richard Yost during a February 1995 store robbery in Tulsa, Okla. Yost's bound and battered body was discovered in the store's walk-in refrigerator by a customer.

His lawyer had not denied that Brown participated in the killing, but appealed to the parole board to spare his client's life because he was 18 when it happened.

During the trial, prosecutors had argued the killing was particularly grisly and played a surveillance tape from the store in which Yost could be heard screaming for help after being dragged into the store's cooler.

Brown's co-defendants, Michael L. Wilson, 33, and Billy D. Alverson, 37, were sentenced to death and are awaiting execution. A third defendant who was 17 at the time of the killing, Richard J. Harjo, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

 


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