A judge sentenced a 22-year-old man to life in prison Friday for killing a homeless man known around Edmond as “Bicycle Bob.”
Connor Mason, of Edmond, must serve 38 years before he is eligible for parole.
Oklahoma County District Judge Jerry D. Bass called the murder of Dwite Morgan — known as Bicycle Bob — one of the “most brutal” he's seen and said the only reason he didn't put Mason behind bars for the rest of his life was because Mason is still a young man.
“I do know that evil took place that night,” Bass said. “Absolute evil.”
The judge rejected a request by defense attorneys to suspend all but the first 25 years of a life sentence and allow Mason to spend the rest of his days in a monastery while wearing an ankle monitor.
Bass questioned Mason's jailhouse conversion to Catholicism, saying he has yet to “make a total and complete admission of guilt.”
“Until you do that, I don't believe your conversion is complete,” the judge said.
Mason pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder in the Oct. 18, 2009, death of Morgan, 54.
Morgan was stabbed 40 times in the head and neck and struck twice in the head with a hammer, police said. Mason also cut off the man's finger and gave it to his love interest as a trophy, acts that prompted Bass to ask, “Why?”
The judge said he had a difficult decision to make after listening to emotional testimony Thursday from several defense witnesses, including the defendant's mother and a psychologist who evaluated Mason.
Lisa Adams, Mason's mother, said she sheltered him during his formative years to protect him from his abusive father.
Psychologist Robert Morgan told the judge Mason was a socially inept depressive who could have been influenced to kill by a more dominant co-defendant in the case.
“No matter how this young man got here, Dwite Morgan didn't deserve to be murdered and certainly didn't deserve the brutality that he suffered the day he was killed,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.
Mason declined to speak in court, choosing instead to write a letter to the judge. He admitted killing Morgan, who was asleep in an alley, and said he “accepts responsibility for this horrible crime.”
“Murder is a foul thing,” Mason wrote, “but it is even more reprehensible when the victim is one of those members of society that are in special need of caring, love and assistance such as the poor and the homeless.”
Those words contradicted the psychologist's testimony. Robert Morgan said Mason told him he believed killing a homeless person “was humane because it would end suffering.”
Mason was 19 when he killed Morgan. The psychologist testified that Mason — a fan of the cable television show “Dexter,” which is about a vigilante serial killer — lived in a fantasy world and likely killed because he wanted to know what it would feel like.
Mason, an Edmond police officer testified Thursday, bragged about the slaying to friends, saying it felt “amazing.”
Prosecutors called Mason an evil man who should be locked up for the rest of his life.
“Certainly it will be a lengthy prison term, and hopefully this defendant will never see the public again … because you just can't fix people like him,” Prater said.
Mason must serve 38.3 years — or 85 percent of a life sentence — before he is eligible for parole or can start earning credits for good behavior. If the sentence holds up, Mason could be released from prison when he's 60.
Bass will review the case in a year and could modify the sentence.
“This is certainly the lesser of two evils,” defense attorney Shawn Jefferson said outside the courtroom.
Mason's attorneys said he was a pawn who was influenced to kill by Nikolas Kerr, a co-defendant who pleaded guilty to a lesser crime and received a suspended sentence in exchange for testifying against Mason.
Mason, they said, wanted to please Kerr, who Jefferson characterized as a psychopath.