OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It's been almost 37 years since Debbie Huggins' father was shot to death during a robbery at a Tulsa convenience store where both of her parents worked.
Her father, Clayton Chandler, was shot eight times during a Sept. 15, 1975 armed robbery, and on Tuesday the man who was twice convicted of killing Chandler is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
Michael Bascum Selsor, 57, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Chandler, the store's 55-year-old manager, during the robbery that netted the thieves a little more than $500.
Huggins, who was 21 at the time, said Selsor's 1976 trial, his 1998 retrial and the many appellate court decisions during the past three decades has kept the memory of her father's violent death fresh in the minds of his family members in spite of the passage of time.
“They make you relive it year after year,” said Huggins, now 58. “You never get to put it to rest. I miss him very much.”
Huggins and her sister, Cathy Durham, appeared before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on April 16 and urged its members to reject Selsor's plea for clemency. Chandler's widow, Anne Chandler, 82, also attended but did not address the board.
“I think it's time to put this to rest,” Huggins told board members. The board voted 4-1 against commuting Selsor's death penalty.
Selsor also addressed board members by teleconference from the prison in McAlester and apologized for his actions.
“Is it too late to say I'm sorry?” Selsor said. “I am truly sorry for the suffering and damage I have caused.”
But prosecutors said Selsor never showed remorse after he was arrested for Clayton Chandler's death and actually complained to detectives about the amount of money he got in the robbery.
“The damn guy held back the twenties or I would have had $800,” he told detectives during an initial interview.
Huggins told The Associated Press that Selsor made a conscious choice when he and a co-defendant, Richard Eugene Dodson, entered the store as Chandler and a female co-worker were preparing to close. Selsor and Dodson had decided to leave no witnesses to the robbery, according to prosecutors.
Anne Chandler was assistant manager of the store but was not working on the night of the robbery, Huggins said.
“The only thing we've ever sought in this whole thing is justice,” Huggins told. “Two juries convicted him. They gave him the death penalty. I think he deserves it.”
Following his plea for clemency, Selsor asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution pending review of a petition that challenged it. The request was denied Friday after it was presented to Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The petition filed by the Federal Public Defender's Office alleged executing Selsor after he has been in prison for almost two generations lacked any deterrent value and would “amount to cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment.