Family Hopeful For Justice After Oklahoma Resumes Executions
Family members are hoping for justice after officials announced Oklahoma will resume executing death row prisoners after a five-year pause.
Angie Short said waiting for the killer of her niece and niece's baby to be executed has been excruciating. Now she just wants the waiting to end.
"It's been 12.5 years of hell and we are ready," said Short.
Angie Short said losing her niece Brooke Whitaker and Brooke's seven-month-old daughter Kya ripped her family apart.
Back in 2007 police said Brooke's ex-boyfriend Raymond Johnson beat her in the head with a hammer and then doused her home in gasoline, and set it on fire, killing Brooke and Kya. A jury gave Raymond Johnson two death sentences in 2009.
Oklahoma halted executions in 2015 after a botched execution but this week, Governed Kevin Stitt said the state has access to the right drugs and will begin death row executions once again.
Short hopes Johnson's death will be swift.
"We're ready for him to be gone off the face of this earth."
She remembers 24-year-old Brooke as a loving mother to four.
"She had four children, and Kya was her baby," Short said.
She said Brooke gave hugs like nobody else, loved swimming and her favorite drink, Dr. Pepper, and Brooke had a laugh that Angie sees now in Brooke's children.
"When she would get the giggles, she would start bawling."
Short said she still sees mother and daughter in the double rainbows and the butterflies.
"She's telling us they are okay."
Short said seeing Johnson finally receive his sentence won't bring Brooke and Kya back, but it will finally put an end to the excruciating waiting.
"They are so missed but we just want it to be over with."
The state says it will take 150 days until executions dates can be set. 26 death row prisoners have exhausted their appeals.