Even after 34 years, Richard Hector Bresette Jr. remembers in detail the moments a sniper killed his mother and her boyfriend outside an Oklahoma City grocery store.
“Just like it was yesterday,” he said. “I can still hear the gunshots in my head.”
The chief suspect in the 1979 shooting faces execution Wednesday in Missouri for a murder there.
Richard Bresette, who was 10 at the time, said he will feel some relief afterward.
“He had the gall to execute my mom, so yeah; I believe he should be executed. You know, like the Bible says, ‘An eye for an eye,'” Richard Bresette said from Tennessee. “I'll feel relief that he won't do that to nobody else ever again.”
Avowed racist Joseph Paul Franklin, 63, is scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the fatal sniper shooting of a bar mitzvah guest outside a synagogue in a St. Louis suburb in October 1977.
In a 1994 confession, he said had searched for a synagogue in Oklahoma City to carry out his plan but moved on to St. Louis because he believed it had a larger Jewish community, court records show.
He has been convicted in seven other deaths — an interracial couple in Wisconsin in 1977, a black man in Tennessee in 1978, two black joggers in Salt Lake City in 1980 and two black teenagers in Cincinnati in 1980.
He was caught in 1980.
He has confessed to or has been implicated in a number of other shootings, including the 1978 sniper attack that left Hustler publisher Larry Flynt paralyzed from the waist down.
He said he was angry with Flynt over photos of an interracial couple in the magazine. He was never charged in that shooting.
“A lot of times he claims responsibility for stuff that there's no evidence or proof of,” his attorney, Jennifer Herndon, said. “I suspect he didn't kill as many people as he's confessed to killing, but there's no way to know for sure.
“He's done a complete 180 as far as his views,” Herndon said. “He believes he should be kept alive so he could help other people overcome their racist views.”
In the Oklahoma case, he was charged in 1981 with two counts of first-degree murder after a cellmate told investigators he had confessed to shooting a white woman and black man in a parking lot in Oklahoma.
Prosecutors dropped the case in 1983 after learning the key witness had been paid a $15,000 reward for his cooperation in another case. Prosecutors said the credibility of the witness had been substantially destroyed.
The victims had lived together in an Oklahoma City apartment and worked at the same nursing home. Marion Vera Bresette, 31, was white. Her boyfriend, Jesse Eugene Taylor, 42, was black.
They were shot on Oct. 21, 1979, after stopping at Whittaker's Foods to buy apples, police reports show. The couple and her three children were coming back from a Hula Hoop contest in a park.
The three children waited in the car.
The sniper — hiding 75 to 100 yards away behind a row of evergreen trees — shot Taylor three times after Taylor walked back to the car, according to police reports and autopsy records.
The sniper shot Marion Bresette once as she ran to help, the records show. Both died there in the parking lot.
Several witnesses told police they thought the loud pops of the sniper's rifle were a car backfiring, according to police reports.
One witness, grocery store worker Charles Hopkins, said he heard the male victim say, “Oh, my God,” after being shot the first time.
Hopkins told police he saw the woman run around the car screaming. He said she dropped immediately when she was shot and did not move.
Richard Bresette, now 44, said, “We … was yelling at my mom, ‘Get down! Get down! Get down!' Even though we was little kids, we knew what was going on.”
He said they did not see their mother get shot because Taylor's blood had splashed across the car window.
His sister, Candy Moreno, said she could tell their mother was dead when they got out of the car. She said she bent down and kissed her mother.
Moreno, 46, of Oklahoma City, said she doesn't believe Franklin should be executed.
“I don't think it is right for anybody to take anybody's life,” she said. “Honestly, I don't, unless it's like you're fighting for your life, then you have to do what you've got to do. … I don't like to even kill flies.”
She said getting locked up for life is worse than being executed.
The tragedy tore up the lives of all three children, who went to live with their dad.
“He messed our lives up, me and my brothers,” Moreno said of the sniper.
“I was really an athletic person and stuff like that,” she said. “Our mom, she always made sure we did good in school, dressed right … but after that happened, I just turned into a drug addict, at 12 years old.”
“Not full-fledged, but anytime I could get things, I would,” she said.
She also said, for a time, she hated white people, even though she herself is white
Richard Bresette said he doesn't like being around people because of what happened.
“I ended up hanging myself in the front yard of my aunt's house. They said I was dead but they brought me back,” he said. “I think it was like a year or two afterward. I was still a little kid. … I didn't have my mom no more and I really loved my mom.”
He said he had regular nightmares until he was 21 about getting shot himself.
He said his father tricked him when he was still a boy into believing Franklin already had been executed. “He just wanted me to forget about it,” Richard Bresette said.
He said he was mad when he learned a few years ago from a television show that Franklin is still alive.
The youngest of the three, Doug Bresette, died in 1995. He was found with a bag over his head from sniffing glue or Freon, his sister and brother recalled.
Doug Bresette was 8 at the time of the shooting, records show.
The Associated Press