An Oklahoma man convicted of murdering a Tulsa convenience store manager almost 37 years ago was executed by lethal injection Tuesday.
The execution of Michael Bascum Selsor ends more than three decades of legal proceedings in which he was twice convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die for the Sept. 15, 1975, shooting death of Clayton Chandler.
The 55-year-old Chandler was shot eight times during an armed robbery in which the thieves got away with a little more than $500. Selsor and Richard Dodson, were arrested a week after Chandler's death in Santa Barbara, California, where their car with Oklahoma tags had been spotted.
Just before the execution began, Selsor, 57, looked at his son and sister. His son reached out his hand.
"My son, my sister, I love you till I see you again next time," Selsor said. "I'll be waiting at the gates of heaven for you. I hope the rest of you make it there as well."
He didn't address the victim's relatives, some of whom were watching him.
Shortly after the execution, one of Chandler's daughters, Debbie Huggins, said her family has waited for almost 37 years for justice in her father's death.
"Today we got that justice," she said. "We're glad that it's finally over. Be at peace. The race is finally over."
She said she thought about her father as she watched Selsor die.
"This was much kinder what we did to him today than what he did to my dad," Huggins said.
Selsor was originally convicted and sentenced to death following a 1976 trial, in which Dodson was a co-defendant. Later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Oklahoma's mandatory death penalty statute. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals modified Selsor's sentence to life in prison without parole.
Selsor initiated a new round of appeals challenging his conviction and in April 1996, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Selsor's murder conviction, as well as two related convictions.
In 1998, Selsor was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death following a retrial. The same jury recommended Selsor serve a life term as an accessory to Dodson's shooting of Chandler's co-worker, Ina Louise Morris, who survived multiple gunshot wounds. The jury also imposed a 20-year term for armed robbery.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected his request for a stay of execution Friday. Defense attorneys had argued that executing Selsor after he has been in prison for almost two generations lacked any deterrent value and would "amount to cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment.
Dodson, now 71, was convicted of robbery and shooting with intent to kill and is serving a prison sentence of 50 to 199 years.