Oklahoma executes man for 1993 shootings

George Ochoa, 38, was given an injection of lethal drugs at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester. He was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m.
By SEAN MURPHY Published: December 4, 2012
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— A death row inmate was executed Tuesday for the 1993 shooting deaths of an Oklahoma City couple.

George Ochoa, 38, was given an injection of lethal drugs at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester. He was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m.

The punishment came less than a month after the state Pardon and Parole Board rejected Ochoa's request that it recommend Gov. Mary Fallin reduce his death sentence to life in prison.

Ochoa is one of two men convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Francisco Morales, 38, and Maria Yanez, 35. Investigators say Morales was shot 12 times and Yanez 11 times in their bedroom on July 12, 1993. The couple's three children were inside the house at the time of the shootings.

Ochoa claimed he had been shocked and suffered injuries during his incarceration, but prosecutors said his claims of hallucinations and harm were likely an attempt to feign mental incompetence. Courts prohibit the execution of people who do not understand why they are being punished.

Officials said earlier psychological evaluations showed no evidence of delusions or hallucinations, and that claims about such didn't start until he was charged.

Ochoa lost a late attempt at having his execution postponed when the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied his request for a stay. A federal appeals court on Monday rejected arguments that Ochoa was mentally unfit to be executed and a challenge to the state's procedure for determining sanity.

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