Man Executed For Killing 9-Month-Old Daughter

Oklahoma to execute man for 2002 killing of infant daughter – The Associated Press – en Español

Benjamin Cole, an inmate in Oklahoma, was executed on Thursday morning despite claims that he was severely mentally ill.

Attorneys for Cole did not dispute that he killed his infant daughter, but argued that had a growing lesion on his brain that contributed to his mental illness. The state’s Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to deny clemency and Cole was competent to be executed.

Cole’s clemency petition details visits by attorneys and doctors who found Cole dirty and “unkempt” in complete darkness inside his cell, and that he keeps the lights off at almost all times and has no regard for his personal hygiene.

A federal appeals court panel upheld a lower court’s ruling that Oklahoma’s execution protocol is constitutional, despite a history of a botched execution in 2014.

The board heard testimony from attorneys for the state and members of the victim’s family, who said Cole’s symptoms of mental illness were exaggerated and that the brutal nature of his daughter’s killing merited his execution.

Cole killed his daughter because he was infuriated that her crying from her crib interrupted his playing of a video game. The board rejected Cole’s request for clemency and heard emotional testimony from family members of the slain child’s mother.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said Cole was sufficiently competent to be executed and that he did not currently evidence any substantial signs of mental illness.

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John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.