The 16th Execution of 2013
James Lewis DeRosa was executed by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State
Penitentiary in McAlester, on June 18, 2013 becoming the state's second inmate executed this
At a clemency hearing last month, DeRosa took responsibility for his role in
the Oct. 2, 2000, stabbing deaths of Curtis and Gloria Plummer, for whom he had
previously done some ranch work. He also apologized to their family.
"I can't express how truly sorry I am for the pain I've caused the Plummer
family," DeRosa said. "I take full responsibility for their deaths. If not for
me, they wouldn't have died that night."
Strapped to the gurney in the penitentiary's death chamber, though, he had
nothing to say before the fatal mixture of drugs was pumped into his veins.
DeRosa took three heavy breaths before his face turned ashen and he stopped
According to prosecutors, DeRosa had worked on the Plummers' ranch in the Le
Flore County community of Poteau, and on the day of the killings, he and
accomplice John Eric Castleberry went there under the pretense of looking for
DeRosa and Castleberry persuaded the couple to let them into their home and
then attacked them, stabbing the couple over and over and slashing both their
necks, prosecutors said. They made off with $73 and the couple's pickup truck,
which was found abandoned at a nearby lake.
Castleberry, 33, testified against DeRosa as part of a deal with prosecutors
in which he received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of
At his clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last
month, DeRosa spoke via a video link from prison about how he had found religion
and turned his life around behind bars. He urged the board to recommend to Gov.
Mary Fallin that she commute his sentence to life in prison so that he could be
a positive influence on his fellow inmates. He also apologized to the victims'
loved ones and owned up to what he had done.
The family wasn't swayed, and the board voted 3-2 to not recommend he be
pulled off of death row.
After the execution, the Plummers' daughter, Janet Tolbert, said the
execution wasn't about DeRosa.
"This is about Curtis and Gloria Plummer. The family of Curtis and Gloria are
pleased that justice has been served," said Tolbert, who was wearing a T-shirt
emblazoned with a picture of her parents' faces.
Tolbert said she wasn't surprised that DeRosa didn't express remorse in the
death chamber, because she said he didn't do so in court. She said the clinical
and peaceful way DeRosa died belies the horrifically violent manner in which her
parents were killed.
"It was horrible," she said. "They suffered a horrendous death. They missed
out on so much."
In a letter to the parole board, Tolbert wrote that she still has nightmares
about finding her parents dead.
"I saw my 70- and 73-year-old parents laying in pools of blood that went
through the carpet to the cement foundation, with both of their throats slashed
from ear-to-ear and stab wounds all over their 70-year-old bodies," Tolbert
To read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57590006-504083/james-lewis-derosa-okla-man-executed-by-lethal-injection-for-couples-2000-death-report-says/