Former Tulsa Judge Wants Clemency For Man In '95 Beating Death

Monday, December 13th 2010, 5:24 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Former judge Ned Turnbull, who at one time ran for Tulsa County District Attorney, plans to speak at a clemency hearing Wednesday for one of the men sent to death row for the brutal murder of a Quik Trip employee.

Turnbull plans to ask the panel for mercy for Billy Alverson.

It's very unusual for a judge who presided over the trial of a suspect to later, speak on behalf of that suspect.

Turnbull tells News On 6 he supports the death penalty, but he didn't believe Alverson deserved it in this case.

The victim's widow disagrees.

February 26th, 1995 was the last day of Richard Yost's life. He was only 30 years old, was married and had two small boys.

He promised his two year old he'd bring him a candy bar after work that night. He promised both sons he would always be there for them.

He wasn't able to keep those promises, because four men came into the Quik Trip where Richard worked, to rob it.

Richard was outnumbered, and they had a baseball bat. They beat him relentlessly until there were nothing left but broken bones and a trail of blood.

Police caught the four men. Michael Wilson remains on death row. Darwin Brown was executed in 2009. Richard Harjo got life without parole and Billy Alverson is scheduled to be executed in January.

His clemency hearing on Wednesday is a last chance to avoid the needle.

Richard's wife will be there, pleading with the pardon and parole board to leave his sentence alone.

Angela Yost says people can't imagine how Richard's suffering before he died and his death have affected her and their boys.

In a letter she's going to read to the board, she writes, "how do you explain your dad was killed because money was more important than your father's life."

She says, "Billy Alverson gave Richard a death sentence and gave us a life sentence without him."

Read the entire letter she plans to read to the board

The surveillance tape was played at the trial. The attack wasn't in the cameras view, but you could hear it, the pinging of the baseball bat as they beat Richard and him screaming.

Angela says that image is etched in her brain forever and the case never ends for her with endless appeals and clemency hearings to attend. She's not happy Judge Turnbull supports clemency for Alverson.

Turnbull didn't tell News On 6 why he believes Alverson didn't deserve death in this case. He said he'd rather speak to the panel first.

He now works for an investment firm in Houston.