McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Police/Courts

February 6, 2013

Clemency hearing set for death row inmate

McALESTER — A clemency hearing has been scheduled for a death row inmate set to be executed in March.

The clemency hearing is set for Feb. 22 for Steven Ray Thacker, according to Oklahoma State Penitentiary Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw.

The 42-year-old death row inmate is scheduled to be executed in OSP’s death chamber at 6 p.m. on March 12.

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

Thacker was convicted of going on a 10-day killing-spree over the Christmas and New Year holidays between Dec. 1999 and Jan. 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,” Pruitt’s press release states.

“Thacker met Hill in her home on Dec. 23, 1999, after answering an ad Hill placed to sell a pool table,” Pruitt’s press release continues. “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 video-taped confession, according to police, Thacker told authorities that he raped Hill and returned to kill her after realizing she could turn him in. A medical examiner later testified that Hill had injuries on her neck, chin and clavicles, “indicating she struggled against Thacker as he tried to strangle her.”

After attempting to strangle Hill, Thacker stabbed her twice in the chest, according to court records, penetrating her left lung and causing her to bleed to death.

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 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, Tennessee, 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, Oklahoma, on about December 28, 1999, and traveled to Springfield, Missouri,” court records state.

“He left Springfield on December 31 and traveled toward Dyersburg, Tennessee, 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.’ He explained that (Patterson) had been facing the credit card machine when (Thacker) stabbed him but (Patterson) immediately turned around and attempted to pull out his gun.

“However, (Thacker) managed to elude him by hiding behind a truck parked inside the garage. (Patterson) then ran out into the parking lot towards the tow truck and collapsed on the ground.”

According to court records, Thacker drove Patterson tow truck into the woods, went back and dragged Patterson’s body into a building and stole his credit cards and gun.

Thacker was sentenced to death in Tennessee for killing the tow truck driver and he received a life sentence for killing the Missouri man, according to Pruitt.

When requesting an execution date for Thacker, Pruitt asked the court to set the date 60 days after Jan. 7, 2013.

Thacker is currently housed on death row in Tennessee at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. 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.

“If and when they set an execution date,” OSP’s warden’s assistant told the News-Capital prior to the execution date being set, “offender Thacker will be brought back to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary so his court ordered execution could be carried out.”

On Monday, Crenshaw said Thacker has not been transferred yet to OSP.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smart phone.

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