Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017 9:58 am EDT
Mark Pickens' execution was scheduled to occur at 10 am EDT, on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Mansfield, Ohio. His execution has been stayed. Twenty-seven-year-old Mark has been convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Noelle Washington, 3-year-old Sha’railyn Wright, and Noelle’s 9-month-old son Anthony Jones III, on June 1, 2009, in Pendleton, Ohio. Mark has been on Ohio’s death row for the last seven years.
Mark’s exertion has been stayed by the Ohio Supreme Court in order to allow him time to complete his appeals.
Mark Pickens and Noelle Washington met a work and began dating occasionally in the fall of 2008.
Around 10:30 am on May 31, 2009, Noelle went to see Pickens. A short time later, she appeared to be pushed into the hallway of his apartment building, with her pants below her hips. She pounded on a neighbor’s door begging for help. When the neighbor let her inside, she begged for help, saying that her boyfriend had raped her and that he had a gun. The neighbor noted that Noelle’s hair was disheveled, she was sweating excessively, and she kept pulling up her pants. The neighbor called the police.
Noelle described to the police, in detail, what had happened while she was in the apartment. She repeatedly told her Pickens that she did not want to engage in sexual intercourse, but he pulled a gun and forced her. Afterwards, he threatened to shoot her.
When police went to Pickens’ apartment to talk to him, he was not there. One of the officers left a note, asking Pickens to call him.
Two individuals testified that during the late evening hours of June 1, 2009, they witnessed a woman, Noelle, arguing with man, later identified as Pickens, outside of the apartment complex where Noelle lived. One of the witnesses observed the two entering the apartment building together. A short time later, gunfire was heard.
Sha’railyn Wright was spending the night at Noelle’s apartment. Shortly after 11, Noelle texted Sha’railyn’s mother, Crystal Lewish, saying she caught Pickens coming into the apartment. After texting with Noelle for a half hour, Crystal remained worried and decided to go pick up her daughter. When she arrived, Noelle and the two children were dead.
Police discovered that there were no signs of forced entry and that Noelle’s keys were not in the apartment. Crystal also informed them of the text messages she had exchanged with Noelle. Pickens was quickly identified as the murder suspect and arrested several hours later, on the following day. Surveillance video showed Pickens at the apartment complex that night.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Noelle Washington and Sha’railyn Wright. Please pray of strength for the family of Mark Pickens. Please pray that if Mark is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Pease pray that Mark may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.