A man being treated for schizophrenia pleaded guilty Thursday to killing a parole officer with the officer's gun and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Lester Kinchion, 21, of Midwest City, agreed to a deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty if convicted at trial of killing Jeffery Matthew McCoy.
Kinchion was charged with first-degree murder in the May 18 shooting death of McCoy, 32, of Norman, a parole and probation officer with the state Corrections Department.
Kinchion also pleaded guilty to two weapons-related charges and received a second life sentence plus 10 years. He waived his right to appeal the conviction.
He has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is being treated with medication, Assistant Public Defender Cathy Hammarsteen said outside of court.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and poor emotional responsiveness. Symptoms include hallucinations and paranoid delusions.
A psychiatrist who evaluated Kinchion for his court-appointed attorneys told Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong that Kinchion was “competent” to participate in the proceedings, despite his condition.
McCoy was killed at a Midwest City residence in the 1400 block of Maple Drive when he arrived for a meeting with another man. Kinchion attacked McCoy when he arrived, shot the officer with his Corrections Department-issued 9 mm pistol, and then removed the officer's belt, baton and belongings from his lifeless body, police said.
Witnesses testified at Kinchion's preliminary hearing seeing him beat the officer then shoot him at close range, remove his belongings and pound his chest as he ran around the body.
McCoy's wife of eight years said he was “a lot of wonderful things to a lot of people.” Their two young children, she added, have been “cheated out of a father.”
“It's not fair that daddy won't be there,” Megan McCoy read from a statement as she wept. “Their daddy went to work one day and never came home.”
McCoy's mother, Mary, also read a statement to the court while standing a few feet from his killer.
“This is a type of hurt and void that we will have to live with forever,” she said. “My heart will ache because you stole my baby from me.”
Kinchion made eye contact with the family members and appeared to listen intently as they read their statements. He apologized for his actions.
“I would like to apologize to the family and say I'm sorry for taking his life,” he said.
Prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty against Kinchion, who admitted shooting McCoy with his own weapon.
Kinchion also pleaded guilty to one count of shooting with intent to kill for firing at a police officer and one count of pointing a firearm for aiming the officer's gun at a bystander. The sentences will be served consecutively.
McCoy's family authorized the plea agreement, according to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.
“We agreed not to pursue the death penalty after consulting with Jeff McCoy's family,” Prater said. “After fully considering all the facts and circumstances in the case, the McCoy family approved the decision that led to the sentencing agreement that occurred today.”