The 40th Execution of 2011
Ohio executed Reginald Brooks on November 15, 2011. Brooks fatally shot his three sons while they slept in 1982, shortly after his wife filed for divorce. He was executed by lethal injection with each of his hands clenched in an obscene gesture.
Brooks was dressed in the standard white T-shirt and blue pants, he declined to make a final statement and remained silent as he received the lethal injection. Witnesses, which included his former wife and her sisters, had a view of his left hand, its middle finger raised. Prison officials said he was making the same gesture with his right hand, according to The Associated Press.
Brooks' actions appear to have been unprecedented since the state resumed executions in 1999. Condemned Ohio inmates in the past have criticized their sentences, professed their innocence, given angry final statements and pleaded to be spared, but never made an obscene gesture.
At 66, Brooks is the oldest person put to death since Ohio resumed executions.
The defense argued he was a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from mental illness long before he shot his sons in the head as they slept at their East Cleveland home on a Saturday morning. Defense attorneys said Brooks believed his co-workers and wife were poisoning him and that he maintained his innocence, offering conspiracy theories about the killings that involved police, his relatives and a look-alike, reported The Associated Press.
Prosecutors acknowledged Brooks was mentally ill but disputed the notions that it caused the murders or made him incompetent. They said he planned merciless killings, bought a revolver two weeks in advance, confirmed he'd be home alone with the boys, targeted them when they wouldn't resist and fled on a bus with a suitcase containing a birth certificate and personal items that could help him start a new life.
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