On Thursday, Benjamin Cole, an Oklahoma inmate, was executed. This came after he was convicted of killing his 9-month-old daughter, 20 years ago. This was also despite the fact that his lawyers had claimed that he was severely mentally ill.
57-year-old Cole was pronounced deceased at 10:22 a.m., at the state penitentiary in McAlester.
Cole had killed his infant child in Rogers County. He had harshly bent her backward, broke her spine, and ripped her aorta.
Lawyers acknowledged that he did commit the act but was very mentally ill, with a growing lesion on his brain. Cole had also been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, they stated.
His attorneys added that Cole wouldn’t get medical help and didn’t care about his personal hygiene. He hoarded food and resided in a darkened cell, barely talking to workers or other prisoners.
“His condition has continued to decline over the course of this year,” one of his lawyers said. She stated that Cole’s lesion affected the portion of his brain that managed problem-solving, movement, and social encounters.
On the other hand, the state and the victim’s relatives said that the characteristics of mental illness were exaggerated and that Cole should be put to death for what he did.
Assistant Attorney General Tessa Henry said that Cole killed his daughter because he was angry that her crying had stopped him from playing a video game.
Prosecutors noted that the child had multiple injuries and that Cole had been in prison prior to that incident, in California, for child abuse.
Cole’s lawyers had said that he couldn’t be executed because of a 1986 Supreme Court ruling that constitutionally prohibited against cruel and unusual punishment. This means that states can’t give someone the death penalty if they are mentally ill.
At the beginning of this month, clemency was denied, and a judge ruled that Cole was competent to be executed.
Two appeals that had been filed with the Supreme Court were rejected, as well.
Reports indicate that Cole didn’t ask for a traditional last meal but was given a facility “religious meal.” This includes vegetarian lasagna, salad, a tortilla, and a fruit drink packet.
It was also said that Cole called himself “just a super-duper hyperbolic Jesus freak,” and hoped that his spirit would go back to his “Father in Heaven.”