A man who has been on death row since 2002 is put to death for murder spree that started in 1999.
Steven Thacker, 42, is Oklahoma's first execution of 2013.
He was convicted of a murder spree that started in December 1999, killing Laci Hill, 25, and two men who crossed his path in Missouri and Tennessee.
“Laci’s murder has left a huge scar to remind us daily of what we have lost, what we will never have again,” said Hill’s best friend Marnie Reed.
Three of the victims' families were at the Oklahoma State Prison to watch Thacker be executed.
Friends of Hill read a statement in part: “They say time heals all wounds, which I guess is true, but Laci’s murder has left a huge scar to remind us all daily of what we have lost, what we will never have again.”
At 6:02 pm Thacker’s last words were about God and forgiveness and he apologized to his victim’s families.
In part he wrote, “I would like to apologize sincerely to the families of Laci Hill, Forrest Boyd, and Ray Patterson. I don't deserve it, but God has forgiven me. I hope you will forgive me for the pain I've caused.”
Laci Hill’s best friend gave a statement after the execution to explain his apology may help him but not Laci’s family and friends.
“His apology doesn’t change anything of what happened or what her family has been through,” said Reed.
Laci Hill was newly married and wanted to start a family. She was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Her body was found a few days after Christmas in 1999 in Mayes County.
In the ten days following her murder, Thacker stabbed a man to death in Missouri and killed a service station worker in Tennessee.
More than 13 years later, Steven Thacker was executed.
“Pronounced dead at 6:10 pm, the execution has been carried out,” said DOC Spokesperson Jerry Massie in the media room.
In Oklahoma, lethal injection is swift and effective.
“I find no joy in this but I do believe in justice,” said Reed.
Standing behind Reed were Laci’s father and another family member who was not identified. Another family friend also gave a statement.
“A little bit of a closure, a little bit of peace. It’s so humane and they get to go to sleep and it’s nothing what the victims endured,” said Nikki Hodgson.
After the execution the victims' families are still left with pain.
“You never truly move on, you just survive. It never leaves you. This won’t make it leave you,” said Reed.
Thacker’s two public defenders and his stepfather were at the execution. After Thacker’s final statement, he turned and winked at his step dad who gave him a thumbs up.
His last meal was a large Meat Lovers pizza from Papa John’s, a bag of peanut M&M’s and an A&W Root Beer soda.
Thacker’s full final statement:
“I would like to apologize sincerely to the families of Laci Hill, Forrest Boyd, and Ray
Patterson. I don't deserve it, but God has forgiven me. I hope you will forgive me for the pain I've caused.
I would like to thank my family and friends for your love and support. When my body is gone, my spirit will be with them.
Jesus Christ died for my sins. God has forgiven me, and eternity and heaven is mine.”
Statement from Laci Hill’s family and friends:
“On behalf of Laci’s family and friends I want to thank everyone for the enormous support and love we have received the last 13 yrs. There are too many people to name individually. Laci impacted many.
They say time heals all wounds, which I guess is true, but Laci’s murder has left a huge scar to remind us all daily what we have lost, what we will never have again.
It was time, justice needed to be served. 13 yrs was long enough. We believe Stephen Thacker deserved to be punished. His selfish act 13 yrs destroyed a family and took a person who was just starting her young life.
His death won’t erase what happened but hopefully we can now focus on happier memories. Memories at the joy Laci brought to our loves. Now we can truly celebrate and remember what an amazing person she truly was.”