WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the final appeal of a man convicted of killing an Oklahoma City couple in 1993 and turned away petitions from three other Oklahoma death row inmates.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested an execution date for George Ochoa after the high court, without comment, declined to hear his case.
On the first day of its new term, the court rejected appeals from two other men sentenced to death for Oklahoma County slayings and from a death row inmate convicted of murder in Tulsa County. Those three have not exhausted their appeals and may get another chance to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their cases.
Ochoa, 38, was sentenced to death for killing Francisco Morales and Maria Yanez in their Oklahoma City home; both were shot multiple times while their children were in the house.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict in Ochoa's 1995 trial, but a second trial the following year resulted in the death sentences. Ochoa's accomplice, Osvaldo Torres, also was tried and sentenced to death for the murders, but former Gov. Brad Henry commuted his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, Pruitt's office said Monday.
In his federal appeals, Ochoa contended that Oklahoma wrongly interpreted a Supreme Court ruling that restricted the execution of mentally retarded people and should have judged his mental capacity at the time of the crime rather than at the time of his trial.
The court also rejected appeals from:
Gilbert Ray Postelle, who was convicted of killing James “Donnie” Swindle Jr., Amy Wright, Terry Smith and James Alderson in Oklahoma City on Memorial Day in 2005; Postelle was one of 10 people charged in the Memorial Day 2005 slayings and subsequent cover-up attempt.
Nicholas Alexander Davis, who was convicted of killing 17-year-old Marcus Smith in Oklahoma City in 2004.
Raymond Eugene Johnson, who was convicted in Tulsa County of killing Brooke Whitaker and her infant daughter in 2007.
The high court Monday also refused to allow Bobbi Parker, the former prison warden's wife who was convicted of helping a convict escape, to file an appeal without paying court fees. The court gave Parker until Oct. 22 to pay the docketing fee and file a petition.