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Judge sentences Steven Thacker to death

Updated:

PRYOR, Okla. (AP) _ A Mayes County judge sentenced a twice-convicted killer to death on Thursday for fatally stabbing and strangling a young Bixby woman during a three-state crime spree nearly three years ago.

``Steven Ray Thacker should and will receive the death penalty for the murder of Laci Dawn Hill,'' District Judge James Goodpaster said in pronouncing punishment.

It was the second death sentence given to Thacker, 32, who was convicted in February and sentenced to die for the Jan. 2, 2000, killing of Ray Patterson in Dyersburg, Tenn. His Tennessee execution date has been stayed.

Thacker also is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Forrest Reed Boyd, 24, of Aldrich, Mo. He could receive the death penalty there, too.

Thacker opted to forgo a jury trial and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Dec. 2, saying he didn't want to cause Hill's family any more pain. He did so without a plea agreement with prosecutors.

According to court records, Thacker confessed to authorities that he went to Hill's home under the guise of wanting to look at a pool table she had advertised for sale in the newspaper.

In testimony during the preliminary hearing, an OSBI agent said Thacker admitted to pulling a knife on Hill and demanding money.

He also said he took her credit/debit card, forced her into his car and drove her to a cabin in Chouteau where he raped and strangled her, records show.

Thacker, of Chouteau, also admitted that he stabbed her in the chest when she didn't die quickly, court records show.
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