“Although it may be possible that he suffers from delusions of being electrocuted, his answers to direct questions were coherent, responsive and displayed an understanding of the process and of his impending fate,” Russell wrote.
Russell also ruled that Oklahoma's procedure for determining sanity, which involves the prison warden determining if there is reason to initiate a sanity hearing, is not unconstitutional or contrary to Supreme Court precedent.
Although prosecutors have acknowledged there was little evidence to suggest a motive for the killings, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Miller said there was no doubt that Ochoa and his co-defendant, Osbaldo Torres, were responsible.
Miller suggested during the clemency hearing that an argument between Ochoa, an admitted gang member, and Morales over a girl Ochoa was dating may have sparked the killings, but that evidence was never presented at trial.
The victims were found in their bed, shot multiple times with a semi-automatic handgun.
Ochoa and Torres were stopped by police near the crime scene and were described by police as “sweating and nervous,” court records show.
Torres, a Mexican citizen, also was convicted and sentenced to die for the couple's deaths, but his sentence was reduced by then-Gov. Brad Henry in 2004. Henry imposed a life-without-parole sentence after Mexican government officials raised concerns that Torres was not given a chance to speak with the Mexican consulate after being accused, as required by international conventions.