McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

March 12, 2013

Death row inmate set to be executed today

McALESTER — An Oklahoma death row inmate housed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is set to be executed tonight at 6 p.m.

Steven Ray Thacker, 42, waived his right to a clemency hearing last month and is set to be put to death by lethal injection tonight in the prison’s execution chamber. Thacker received his death sentence after a three-state crime spree in which he murdered three people.

The condemned killer arrived at OSP on Feb. 12. Prior to his arrival, Thacker was being held on death row in Tennessee at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

“All offenders sentenced to death are offered an opportunity for a clemency hearing,” said OSP Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw. “However, Steven Ray Thacker has voluntarily waived his right for a clemency hearing.”

Crenshaw said Thacker “will be housed on death row until which time his court-ordered execution can be carried out. His return to Oklahoma went without incident.”

Crenshaw said Thacker has already submitted his last meal request: A large meat lover’s pizza, a small bag of peanut M&Ms and an A&W root beer.

The request for an execution date for Thacker was made on Jan. 7 by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court denial of the killer’s final appeal.

Thacker was convicted of going on a 10-day killing spree over the Christmas and New Year holidays between December 1999 and January 2000. He killed three people in three states, according to court records.

“In December 2002, Thacker pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, rape and first-degree murder of Laci Dawn Hill, 25, of Bixby,” states a press release from Pruitt’s office.

“Thacker met Hill in her home on Dec. 23, 1999, after answering an ad Hill placed to sell a pool table,” the press release states. “When his attempt to rob Hill failed, Thacker kidnapped her and took her to a rural cabin and raped her. Thacker attempted to strangle Hill, but eventually stabbed her in the chest and neck.”

In a videotaped confession, according to police, Thacker told authorities he raped Hill and returned to kill her after realizing she could turn him in.

Pruitt’s press release says Thacker then fled to Missouri where he killed 24-year-old Forrest Reed Boyd, stealing his car and credit cards.

Thacker then drove to Tennessee “where the car ultimately broke down, and he called a tow truck,” according to Pruitt. “Thacker murdered Ray Patterson (age 52), the tow truck driver, after being confronted for using a stolen credit card.”

Thacker was arrested at a Super 8 Motel in Union City, Tenn., after being located by police, according to court documents. After searching Thacker’s motel room, police found several items belonging to Patterson, including credit cards, according to court records. Police also found a pistol, hair dye, two bloodstained coats and two knives, court records state.

Police also searched Thacker’s vehicle and found a third knife, which was covered in Patterson’s blood, court records state. While in police custody, Thacker told authorities “how he had left his home in Chouteau, Okla., on about December 28, 1999, and traveled to Springfield, Mo.,” court records state.

“He left Springfield on December 31 and traveled toward Dyersburg, Tenn., but his car broke down ‘two-and-a-half miles this side of the Mississippi River.’ An unidentified man gave the defendant a ride into Dyersburg and dropped him off at a truck stop,” where he obtained a name and phone number for a local tow-truck driver.

“While at this truck stop, (Thacker) called the victim and asked him to tow his vehicle into the service station,” court records state. “Once they arrived back at the victim’s service station, (Thacker) attempted to pay the victim (Patterson) with the stolen credit card, but the card was rejected.

“According to (Thacker), ‘he wasn’t gonna give my credit, my card back ‘cause I couldn’t pay the bill ... And I knew I was wanted in other states, so I just stabbed him and took off.’”

Along with his Oklahoma death sentence, Thacker is serving 10 years for kidnapping and 50 years for first degree rape in Oklahoma. He was sentenced to death in Tennessee for first degree murder and was sentenced to life for a murder charge in Missouri.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

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