August 11, 2005

Oklahoma man executed for 1994 murder of girlfriend

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma man was executed on
Thursday for murdering his girlfriend because he thought she
was cheating on him, a prison spokesman said.

Before being given a lethal injection, Kenneth Eugene
Turrentine, 52, proclaimed his innocence, despite an earlier

In addition to fatally shooting Anita Louise Richardson,
39, in Tulsa in 1994, Turrentine was convicted of murdering his
sister, Avon Stevenson, 48, and Richardson's children, Tina
Pennington, 22, and Martise Richardson, 13.

The convictions for the children's murders were overturned
by a U.S. appeals court but Turrentine received a life sentence
for his sister's murder. He had believed his sister was helping
Richardson date other men.

After the slayings, Turrentine called police and admitted
the killings, police said. He said he was under the influence
of antidepressants and alcohol at the time.

On Thursday, while strapped to a gurney in the death
chamber, Turrentine said he was innocent.

"I've always maintained I've been innocent of crimes
charged," he said. "This is a violation of my 14th Amendment
rights. It's not over. With that being said, Mom, Dad, I love
you all. Be strong."

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures due
process of the law and equal treatment of all citizens and was
adopted to protect former slaves after the Civil War.

For his final meal, Turrentine requested 10 slices of
cheesecake, 10 pieces of fried chicken and fried catfish.