January 9, 2014

Shortly after 6 pm CST, on January 9, 2014, Michael Lee Wilson was executed by the state of Oklahoma. The execution occurred at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. Michael was 38 years of age. Michael was convicted of the murder of 30-year-old Richard Yost in Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 26, 1995. Michael spent the last 16 years of his life on Oklahoma’s death row.

Around 6 am, on February 26, 1995, Michael Wilson and friends, Darwin Demond Brown, Billy Don Alverson, and Richard Harjo, entered the QuikTrip convenience store where Michel worked with Richard Yost, who was at the counter.

According to a security tape, after the group entered the store, they surrounded Richard and dragged him out of sight into the cooler. While in the cooler, evidence showed Richard was handcuffed and his ankles were taped together. Alverson returned to the front of the store to pick up some items that had been knocked off the shelves. Harjo exited the cooler area and the two left the store. On the tape, Richard was heard screaming for help.

When the duo returned, they were carrying an alumni baseball bat. Both entered the cooler. Sounds of the baseball bat hitting Richard could be heard on the tape. An autopsy later found a piece of the handcuffs embedded in Richard’s head, indicated that Richard likely tried to protect himself with his hands. During the beating, Wilson exited the back room, put on his QuikTrip jacket, and successfully removed the safe below the counter, in between waiting on customers. Wilson also took all the money from the cash drawer and currency change machine. The safe and money was loaded into Wilson’s car, along with the tape from the surveillance camera. Richard was later found by a customer, surrounded by spilt beer, spilt milk, and blood.

 

Police determined from interviews that Wilson had been in the store early that morning. They arrested Wilson, Alverson, Harjo, and Brown later that day as they were driving around. All had large wads of cash on them, except for Wilson. The stolen items were later discovered at Alverson’s home, including the surveillance video tape.

 

All four men were found guilty. Darwin Brown was executed in 2009. Billy Alverson was executed in 2011. Richard Harjo was 16 at the time of the crime. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

It was revealed during trial that Michael Wilson’s father was largely absent from his life growing up. Michael was close to his brother as child. His brother has been in and out of jail, belonged to a gang, and sold dope to support the family. According to Michael’s brother, while growing up, Michael was routinely shot at by gang members. Additionally, a psychologist determined that Michael had an above average IQ and suffered from some mental disorders, however, the psychologist did not elaborate during his sentencing hearing.

On Monday, December 16, 2013, the Oklahoma Board of Pardon and Paroles rejected, by a vote of 4-1, a request for clemency for Michael.

Please pray for peace for the family of Richard Yost, especially his ex-wife who is struggling to find closure. Please pray for strength for the family of Michael Wilson.

 



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