MUSKOGEE man seeks stay of execution in district court

Friday, May 18th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ A Muskogee man scheduled to die next week by injection has filed a motion in Muskogee County District Court for a stay of execution.

Terrance Anthony James, 41, was sentenced to death for the 1983 slaying of Mark Allen Corkey Berry in the old Muskogee City-Federal Jail.

Berry, 25 of Durant, was found hanging in a cell but he had been strangled with a wire before he was hanged by James and two other prisoners.

District Judge G. Bruce Sewell will consider the motion for a stay, as well as a motion for determination of indigence and appointment of counsel to represent James. Sewell received copies of the motions and the response filed by state Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

``I'm going to review the materials and enter an order as soon as possible,'' Sewell said.

Berry's sister, Mary Nelson, said James took her brother's life into his own hands.

``He became Corkey's self-appointed judge and executioner,'' Nelson told the Muskogee Daily Phoenix. ``Terrance James and his accomplices saw it in their best interest to murder him.''

Tulsan Samuel Raymond Van Woudenburg also was sentenced to death for Berry's murder. No date has been set for his execution.

Durant resident Dennis Earl Brown pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 35 years.