A man sentenced to death for murdering his pregnant wife will spend the rest of his life in prison instead, a judge ruled Thursday.
Victor Wayne Hooks, 51, was convicted of first-degree murder in May 1989 for killing Shalimein Blaine, 21, at their Oklahoma City apartment in October 1988.
He was sentenced to die, but a federal appeals court overturned the punishment in August.
On Thursday, Oklahoma County District Judge Jerry D. Bass sentenced Hooks to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Blaine's death plus an additional 500 years behind bars for the death of the woman's unborn child.
The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively. Hooks originally received the 500-year sentence for his conviction on a first-degree manslaughter charge in the case.
Prosecutors and public defenders representing Hooks agreed on the sentence, saying the victim's mother and daughter did not want him to die. Hooks is the girl's father.
“I thought the death penalty was appropriate in this case and remains appropriate in this case,” First Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said outside court.
The prosecutor called the crime “brutal” and “heinous.”
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver found that Hooks did not receive effective counsel when he was sentenced in Blaine's beating death.
The court said Hooks' attorney failed to thoroughly explore Hicks' background, which included abuse when he was a child and a head injury in an auto accident. The court also said the attorney failed to properly prepare a defense psychiatrist for testimony.
Public Defender Robert Ravitz, whose office represents Hooks, called the agreement appropriate.
Ravitz said Hooks has “severe” brain damage, citing evidence of “significant diminished mental capacity since childhood.”
Hooks apologized in court for killing Blaine, his common-law wife.
“I never meant for this to happen,” he said. “I love her and if I could take her place I would.”