Sunday, June 04, 2006

June 1, 2006

...I'm going to cut your loving little boy's head off." ....

Last Meal: Boltz requested Kentucky Fried Chicken (original recipe), potato wedges, baked beans, cole slaw, an apple turnover and a dinner roll.

The skinny: Boltz, a former used car salesman and evangelistic preacher, was put to death for killing his 22-year-old stepson in a Shawnee mobile home park.

Boltz, 74, became the oldest man in Oklahoma's history to be executed.

More skinny: The Shawnee Police Department received a call from John Boltz's wife who informed the police that she was at her mother's house and that Boltz, who had been drinking, had forced his way into the house and had made accusations about her to her mother. She further stated that when she threatened to call the police, Boltz left. She gave the dispatcher Boltz's car tag number and his home address. His wife called the police department later and inquired as to whether Boltz had been taken into custody. When she was informed that he had not been arrested, she went to her son's house.

After they had been there for a short time, Boltz called and talked to the man. The conversation lasted only a few minutes. A short time later, Boltz called back and again talked to the man. After this call, the man left to go to Boltz's trailer house. Immediately thereafter, Boltz called a third time and his wife answered. Boltz told her, "I'm going to cut your loving little boy's head off." Boltz also threatened his wife who immediately called the police and reported the threats. She told the dispatcher where Boltz lived and stated that she was going over there.

A woman who lived next door to Boltz, testified that during that evening she heard the screeching of brakes, a car door slam and loud and angry voices. When she heard a sound like someone getting the wind knocked out of him, she looked out the window and observed a man lying on the ground on his back, not moving. She testified that Boltz was standing over him screaming obscenities and beating him.

Boltz was arrested in Midwest City, Oklahoma, at the American Legion Hall after a friend informed the police of Boltz's location. Boltz had informed the friend that he had killed his stepson and had probably cut his head off. Boltz surrendered to the police upon their arrival.

Declining the plea: Boltz could have avoided execution had he accepted a plea bargain prosecutors offered. The deal would have reduced the offense to first-degree manslaughter with a maximum sentence of 42 years in prison, if Boltz pleaded guilty.

The offer was extended to spare the mother from testifying. She had told prosecutors she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and was concerned the stress of a trial would push her fragile mental state too far.

Boltz probably would already have been released from prison had he taken the plea bargain. Instead, he's spent most of the last 22 years confined 23 hours a day on death row.

Boltz adamantly had claimed he was in his own home defending himself from an attacker.

Leading up to: Boltz was in reasonably good health for a man who nearly was 75. He remained a solid Pentecostal, who read daily from the Bible, the attorney said.

Last words and such: Officials had trouble finding a vein to inject the lethal drugs, delaying the execution for more than an hour at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

With the last words of his life, he admonished those who put him on death row.

"It's a time of sadness because I think of all the people involved who got me here and what's in store for them," he said.

Without reciting the verses, Boltz then referenced Deuteronomy 19:18-21, saying that "they need to read that portion of the Bible and see what's down the road for them."

Although Boltz never specified who "they" are, the passage seemed to be directed at the victim's family:

The verses say, in part: "And the judges shall make careful inquiry. If they discover that the witness is, indeed, resentful and has accused falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him what he had planned to have done to his brother; and thus you shall eradicate the evil from among you."

Factoids: Boltz was the...

21st murderer executed in U.S. in 2006
1025th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2ndmurderer executed in Oklahoma in 2006
81st murderer executed in Oklahoma since 1976

The state's previous oldest inmate to be executed was Robert Hendricks, 64, who was put to death in 1957.

The oldest person put to death — John Nixon - was 77 when he was executed in Mississippi on Dec. 14. Clarence Ray Allen, who was blind and used a wheelchair, was executed in California on Jan. 17 at the age of 76. James Hubbard, executed in Alabama in 2004, was also 74.