Death Row murderer executed despite being unaware of his sentence

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    A death row killer convicted of killing his baby daughter has been executed by his state, despite reportedly not knowing his sentence due to mental health issues.

    Benjamin Cole waited on death row for 20 years after being convicted of murder in 2002.

    His lawyers filed a last minute suit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in the hope of the court ordering a competency hearing.

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    The suit was thrown out and the state instead ordered an evaluation by a state doctor, and the killer was found fully cooperative.

    Cole was put to death via lethal injection shortly after 10am local time (4pm BST) in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Oklahoma, US.

    During an earlier examination cited by Judge Hogan, Cole is reported to have said: "Are you asking if I see little green men running around on the floor that beam up in a spaceship to Venus and look for the purple monsters?

    "No, I do not see things. I never have."

    Cole's lawyers had said he was suffering from schizophrenia, likely caused by an identified brain lesion and other factors such as extreme abuse as a child.

    Cole killed the nine-month-old by bending her body so far back that her spine snapped and her aorta was torn, before going back to playing a video game.

    The case went to trial, and lawyer Emma Rolls said Cole did not plead guilty due to his mental condition.

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    "He had some fixed delusions on very hyper-religious ideology and he was offered a deal after he gave full confession accepting responsibility for the death of his daughter," Rolls said. "I believe that if he were competent he would have taken that deal to save his life, but he rejected it.

    "I think that speaks to how mentally ill he was even before this trial started."

    A last minute application for a stay of the execution, filed the night before his execution, was denied by the Supreme Court.

    Rolls continued: "I do believe if just the average Oklahoman were to look at the facts underlying Mr Cole's mental illness they would be moved. It is so obvious."

    "This is a man who is pulling out his own teeth and mailing them to his mother and his legal team. This is a man who has has not had direct interaction with his legal team for year, yet the state maintains he is competent but he has never asked for the removal of his team.

    "This is a man who has not voluntarily left his cell in years."


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