Oklahoma's female death row inmate population doubled this year from one to two with the arrival of a Kentucky inmate under the Interstate Corrections Compact.
LaFonda Faye Foster, 25, arrived in July at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in Oklahoma City after serving a little more than a year at a Kentucky medium-security facility, said Ed Conway, interstate compact administrator with the Kentucky Corrections Cabinet.
Foster received a death sentence for the 1986 murder of five people in Lexington, Ky., Conway said. Along with Tina Hickey Powell, 30, Foster was accused of shooting and stabbing the victims, then driving a car over the bodies.
Conway said Foster was placed at Mabel Bassett because Kentucky's only women's prison is geared toward minimum- and medium-security inmates.
"This one's a heavy-duty lady," he said. "She can control a population of women, and she would be like a man in a women's facility.
She was just an administrative problem."
Conway said Foster's criminal career began as a juvenile and she had been in and out of the Kentucky correction system since 1976.
Asked if Kentucky officials had trouble placing her, he said: "No question about it. We had a couple of possibilities, but this was the best deal all the way around for both party states."
As Foster was delivered to Mabel Basset, officials picked up for the return trip Timothy Weinmeister, 29, serving two life terms for first-and second-degree murder and 30 additional years for two first-degree manslaughter convictions and for carrying a firearm after committing a felony.
Weinmeister was involved in a 1985 riot at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, and he is housed in another state for security reasons, said Jerry Massie, spokesman for the State Department of Corrections. After the riot, Weinmeister was placed in federal prisons in two other states before a return to Oklahoma and his subsequent relocation to a facility in Eddyville, Ky. Oklahoma has inmate-exchange agreements with 13 other states and the federal prison system, Massie said. There are 23 Oklahoma inmates housed in other states, while the state is hosting 21 inmates from New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Washington and Kentucky.
Though they reside in Oklahoma, the out-of-state inmates remain under their home state's authority.
Of a total 95 death row inmates in Oklahoma, Lois Nadine Smith was the only woman before Foster's arrival. Smith, 48, is serving a life sentence for the 1982 shooting death of Cynthia Baillie in Gans.
Mabel Basset is the state's only maximum-security women's prison.
Women are also incarcerated at Clara Waters Community Treatment Center in Oklahoma City, Tulsa Community Treatment Center, and Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft.
Conway said future renovation plans on the Kentucky prison would probably address the possibility of housing female maximum-security inmates. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 365747