Oklahoma Executes Inmate For 1993 Shooting Deaths: Insanity Plea Rejected
Oklahoma death row inmate George Ochoa, 38, has been serving his death sentence in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary since 1993 for the first-degree murder of Francisco Morales, 38, and Maria Yanez, 35, during a home invasion.
Finally, Ochoa was put to death on Tuesday evening.
George Ochoa's family members nor his attorneys were present during the execution but more than a dozen members of the victim's family were present to watch Ochoa's execution through a glass window.
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In the final moments before being strapped down for a lethal injection, George Ochoa was allowed to say his last words before the execution. Ochoa answered, "I'm innocent," a statement he has maintained for years.
In fact, George Ochoa had requested for a reduction of his sentence to life in prison, a request that Governor Mary Fallin and the state Pardon and Parole Board rejected. This request was presented to state officials less than a month from his execution date.
Beyond the request, Ochoa has also attempted to feign mental illness, claiming that shock and injuries suffered while in prison has caused hallucinations and paranoia.
However, earlier psychological evaluations show no evidence of delusions or hallucinations. prosecutors said his claims were mere attempts to avoid execution. Oklahoma court cannot execute individuals that do not understand their sentence.
A rather high profile incident, Ochoa's attorney defended that mental deterioration from years in prison have taken a toll on the death row inmate. In fact, the attorney even claimed that Oklahoma's methods of determining mental competency is unconstitutional.
A ghastly crime committed nearly 20 years ago, George Ochoa broke into a south side Oklahoma City home. Victims Francisco Morales was shot 12 times while Maria Yanez was shot 11 times in their bedroom in July 12, 1993.
The police was able to stop George Ochoa close to the crime scene and also identified an accomplice, Osbaldo Torres, age 37. According to police reports, both Ochoa and Torres were visibly "sweating and nervous."
Osbaldo Torres, a Mexican citizen, was also convicted of first-degree murder. However, Torres' sentence was reduced from death to life in prison due to concerns from the Mexican government officials. Torres was not given a chance to speak with the Mexican consulate before trial, a breach in international convention.
Three of the couples children were present in the house at the time of Ochoa's break in. The children later endured testifying at the trial of their parent's death.
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