Lori Fullbright, News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Clemency was denied Wednesday for a death-row inmate convicted in the 1995 killing of a Tulsa convenience store clerk.
The state Pardon and Parole Board voted four to one against the clemency request by Billy Alverson Wednesday.
Many people talked about what a changed man Billy Alverson is now, how he's trying to make up for his crime by being a better person. The board learned he's never had a single write up for bad behavior and has worked as a barber and an orderly while behind bars.
Still, none of that was any comfort to the woman whose husband is dead or the sons he left behind.
Richard Yost was beaten to death with a baseball bat in February of 1995. He was working at QuikTrip and four men came in to rob it. They took him to a back room to tie him up, but he put up such a fight, they decided to knock him out with the baseball bat they brought, but they kept hitting him until he was dead.
Richard's widow and mother both asked the board to keep Alverson's death penalty in place.
"They did all four commit this crime and are guilty and deserve to die," his mother said. "I hope you see this and give Richard the justice he deserves."
A Homicide Sergeant said Alverson was fully involved in the planning of the murder and even though he didn't swing the bat, also did nothing to stop it or get help, then lied to police later.
Members of Alverson's family also testified about how he has changed his life. He talks to kids who tour death row about the choices they make and the company they keep.
Even former judge Ned Turnbull, who presided over the trial, spoke on Alverson's behalf, then finally, the board heard from the Alverson himself.
"For 15 years, I've tried to figure out how, without being disrespectful to the Yost family, to let them know how sorry and ashamed I am for hurting their family the way I have," Alverson said.
Ultimately, the board decided to leave the jury's death sentence in place and ruled Alverson will die for his crimes.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has scheduled Alverson's execution for January 6, 2011 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Three of those men received death sentences and one, Darwin Brown, was executed in January 2009.
Richard Yost's widow, two sons, mother and many other relatives say they'll never get over his murder, especially, the horrific way he was killed. Their loss is horrible.
Alverson's relatives are suffering too. He has four sons of his own, from 15 years old to 20 years old and a big, close-knit family.
As a veteran homicide detective told News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright after the hearing, when a crime like this is committed, everyone loses.
The Associated Press contributed to this story