Monday, June 17, 2024

Oklahoma Execution of Raymond Johnson Stayed Before May 2, 2024

April 17, 2024

Raymond JohnsonRaymond Johnson was scheduled to be executed at 10 am local time on Thursday, May 2, 2024, inside the execution chamber in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. His execution has been stayed and is awaiting a new date. Fifty-year-old Raymond is convicted of murdering Brook Whitaker and their seven-month-old daughter Kya on June 23, 2007, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For the last 14 years, Raymond has resided on Oklahoma’s death row.

In 1996, Raymond was convicted of the September 11, 1995, murder of 25-year-old Clarence Ray Oliver in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The two men got into an argument and Raymond pulled out a gun, threatening to shoot Clarence. Clarence got into his car and attempted to drive away, only to be shot through the passenger side window. Raymond was arrested two weeks later, confessed, and pled guilty to the crime. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In 2005, Raymond Johnson was paroled from prison. After his release, he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and began a relationship with Brooke WItaker, who was a mother to four children. Brooke and Johnson went on to have one child together, a daughter Kya.

In February 2007, Johnson moved in with Brook and her children. By April, the couple was having problems. Brooke had told her mother that Johnson had threatened to kill her. Brooke became fearful for her life and the lives of her children and moved in with her mother for two weeks. During that time, Johnson repeatedly called and claimed that he was going to kill Brooke.

Brooke and Johnson resumed their relationship in May and moved back in together. However, at this time, Johnson also had a relationship with Jennifer Walton. Jennifer became pregnant with Johnson’s child and a short time later Johnson told Jennifer he wanted to move out of Brooke’s home. Jennifer arranged for Johnson to stay with her friend, Laura.

On June 22, 2007, Johnson asked Jennifer to pick him up around 10:30 pm. They drove by Brooke’s place of work to make sure she was at work before driving by her house. Johnson had Jennifer drop him off near Brooke’s house. Johnson was going to retrieve some of his clothes from Brooke’s house. Jennifer then left, as Johnson planned to call another friend for a ride when he was done.

Beginning around 1 am on June 23, 2007, Johnson called Jennifer multiple times. He first said he was waiting for Brooke to get home. Then he said that he would meet her shortly. Around 10 am, Johnson called and told Jennifer that Brook was dead and that he needed a ride. Jennifer was to pick Johnson up at a nearby school, however, he called again and said that the killer was thinking about burning down Brooke’s house. He then asked to be picked up behind Brooke’s house. When Jennifer arrived, Johnson was leaving a vacant house, carrying two trash bags that he put in the trunk. Jennifer noticed that Johnson smelled like blood and gasoline. As she drove away, Jennifer saw Brooke’s house on fire.

Jennifer drove Johnson to the place he was staying, where he began taking things out of the two garbage bags, including money that had blood on it. Johnson also said that a friend had hit broke with a hammer. After washing the money and showering, Johnson wanted to go back to Brooke’s house to look for Brooke’s cell phone, as he had used it that morning. By that time, police and firefighters had arrived at the scene and Johnson was unable to find his phone. Jennifer took Johnson back to Laura’s house.

The fire at Brooke’s home was reported at 11:11 am on June 23, 2007. The inside of the home was pitch black with smoke. Firefighters discovered the body of infant Kya, who had been burned to death. Brooke was discovered with extensive burns and injuries to her head. She later died at the hospital.

It was determined that the house was purposefully set on fire and that gasoline was used as an accelerant. Brooke’s cell phone was also discovered in the home. Cellphone records led police to Jennifer. When she was interviewed, she told them about picking up Johnson and detailed where she drove him that day, which included the location of the dumpster where he dumped evidence from the crime. Johnson was arrested later that night. He claimed that he and Brooke got into a violent argument and that he only hit her with a hammer after she came after him with a knife. He hit her on the head at least five times, although Brooke remained conscious and asked for Johnson to get help. Instead, he doused Brooke and the house in gasoline and set it on fire. Johnson confessed to intentionally trying to kill Brooke.

Johnson was tried and convicted by a jury, who then sentenced him to death.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has requested that several of the upcoming scheduled executions in the state be rescheduled to allow more time between them. Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections is currently understaffed and preparing for an execution is time intensive. Drummond’s request was granted by the courts. Several executions have been rescheduled, however many, including Raymond Johnson’s have not yet received their new execution dates.

Pray for peace for the family of Brook Whitaker and Kya. Pray for strength for the family of Raymond Johnson. Please pray that if Raymond is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided before his execution. Pray that Raymond finds peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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