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.
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