Execution of Phillip Hancock Amidst Claims of Self-Defense
Phillip Hancock, aged 59, is set to undergo a three-drug lethal injection on Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. The impending execution relates to a 2001 double slaying, with Hancock maintaining that his actions were in self-defense.
Despite a 3-2 vote by Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board in favor of recommending clemency, Governor Kevin Stitt had not acted on the recommendation as of early Thursday morning.
Governor’s Previous Actions and Decision-Making Process
Governor Stitt, known for commuting the death sentence of Julius Jones in 2021, has yet to respond to the board’s recent recommendation regarding Hancock.
Stitt’s spokesperson mentioned his intent to consult with prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the families of the victims before making a decision.
Notably, Stitt had rejected clemency recommendations for two other death row inmates, Bigler Stouffer and James Coddington, both of whom were subsequently executed.
Hancock’s Self-Defense Claim and Clemency Hearing
Hancock has consistently asserted that he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Robert Jett Jr., 37, and James Lynch, 58, during an altercation inside Jett’s home in south Oklahoma City.
His defense argued that the victims were members of outlaw motorcycle gangs, and Jett, unarmed, was lured into a dangerous situation. A female witness testified that Jett ordered Hancock into a cage before attacking him, leading Hancock to eventually use Jett’s own pistol to defend himself.
Challenges in Hancock’s Legal Representation
Hancock’s legal team highlighted challenges during the trial, including substance abuse issues among his attorneys, which may have impacted the presentation of crucial evidence.
However, the state’s attorneys countered, claiming inconsistencies in Hancock’s accounts and a misalignment with physical evidence.
Prosecution’s Counterarguments and Victim Testimonies
Assistant Attorney General Joshua Lockett contended that Hancock’s actions went beyond self-defense, citing a witness who claimed Hancock pursued Jett into the backyard after the initial shooting.
The witness recounted Jett’s plea for mercy, stating, ‘I’m going to die,’ to which Hancock allegedly responded, ‘Yes, you are,’ before firing again. Lockett argued that such pursuit and intention contradicted the notion of self-defense.
Family Testimonies and Previous Convictions
Family members of the victims, including Jett’s brother Ryan Jett, testified against clemency, expressing that while they acknowledged imperfections in their brother, his death was undeserved.
Additionally, Hancock, who is facing execution, has a prior conviction for first-degree manslaughter in 1982, also claiming self-defense. He served less than three years of a four-year sentence in that case.
Oklahoma’s Execution History and Future Schedule
Hancock’s execution marks the fourth in Oklahoma this year and the 11th since the state resumed executions in October 2021. Oklahoma has executed more individuals per capita than any other state since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.
The next scheduled execution in Oklahoma is slated for February 1, involving James Ryder, convicted of the 1999 killing of Daisy Hallum, 70, and her son, Sam Hallum, 38, in Pittsburg County.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn