Families Gather In Tulsa To Remember Lost Loved Ones

Wednesday, April 30th 2014, 11:09 pm
By: News On 6

There are more than 50 inmates on death row in Oklahoma and none will be executed until the state's official review is complete.

One woman who's been waiting for one of those convicts to be put to death shared that same tragedy with others Wednesday Tulsa's Crime Victims' Remembrance Day.

Loved ones planted a garden to keep the memories of those lost alive. But along with the sweet sentiment, one woman is dwelling on a deep dark question she's been asking for seven years; when will my niece's killer be executed?

The indirect victims of homicide in Tulsa live on, keeping the memory of their lost loved ones alive.

District Attorney Tim Harris, said, "It's not a case, it's a person."

Wednesday's gathering wasn't about Tuesday night's execution, but for Angie Short, whose niece and great-niece's killer is on death row, she can't stop thinking about that execution gone awry.

4/29/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Inmate Dies Of Heart Attack After Execution Goes Awry

"I was actually relieved that they're getting rid of another person on death row, because that means Raymond Johnson is moving up the list," Short said.

6/26/2009: Related Story: Jury Recommends Death For Raymond Johnson

Police say Johnson is the man who beat 24-year-old Brooke Whitaker with a hammer, then poured gasoline on her and her 7-month-old daughter Kya, setting them on fire.

"He tortured them. He had no remorse," said Short.

Since that day in June 2007, Short has felt strongly about the death penalty. Now, she's concerned that Tuesday night's complications could delay Johnson's execution.

"It was cruel and inhumane and botched, but they don't think about the victims, what they went through," Short said.

She said more emphasis needs to be put on victims, whose lives outshine their brutal deaths, and have sent their loved ones on a hunt for justice.

Short said her hunt won't end until Johnson is dead.

"Justice will finally be served, but Brooke and Kya, they're still gone, so our pain is always in our hearts forever," she said.

Something really amazing about the gathering, some victims' loved ones are even invited from surrounding counties outside Tulsa County, just to make more loved ones who've lost so much feel welcomed, loved and included.