United States

US Man Executed For Killing Indian National And Another Person In Oklahoma In 2002

Oklahoma has executed 41-year-old Michael Dewayne Smith, convicted of shooting and killing two people in 2002, including an Indian.

File photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Michael Dewayne Smith. Photo: AP

A 41-year-old man convicted of shooting and killing two people, including an Indian, in the US state of Oklahoma in 2002 has been executed, the state's first execution of the year.

Michael Dewayne Smith was executed on Thursday by lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester town, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said in a statement.

Smith had been on death row for the murders of 24-year-old Indian store clerk Sharath Pulluru and 40-year-old Janet Moore in separate incidents on February 22, 2002.

Oklahoma Attorney General released a statement after Smith was declared dead, saying: "I am grateful that justice has been served."

"I pray that today brings some measure of peace for the families of Janet Miller-Moore and Sharath Pulluru. It has been a long and difficult 22 years for their loved ones, and my heart aches over the agony they have endured," he said.

 “I want the people of Oklahoma to know that the victims of Michael Smith were good and decent people who did not deserve their fate," Drummond said.

 “Sharath, a bright young man with a generous spirit, was the first in his family to come to the United States to pursue an education. He was fun to be around, was an inspiration to his family, and had a promising future," he said.

He added that the two were murdered because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. "That was all. I am grateful that justice has been served,” he said.

In a statement, the Pulluru family said, "Sharath was the life of our family. We are a very close family and his sudden death in such a violent manner has affected our families' lives every day since. He will forever live in our hearts. We are thankful  justice was served today."

The family of Moore also released a statement declaring that "justice has been served" and thanking authorities for pursuing the punishment over the past 22 years.

"It does not go unnoticed or in vain, as we were constantly reminded this is justice for a loss that has caused a ripple for generations to come," the family wrote.

When asked if he had any last words, Smith responded, "Nah, I'm good," the US media reported. 

Before his execution, Smith said in a statement: "My life is on the line. Despite new evidence, my attorney Mark Henricksen has informed my family that he will be filing no further appeals on my behalf. I am releasing this statement to demand that Mr Henricksen do his job and fight for my life."

Smith is the first person to be executed this year and the 12th to be executed in Oklahoma since the state resumed carrying out death penalties in 2021.

The nearly seven-year hiatus came after a series of problems arose during executions.

In 2014, a condemned prisoner writhed in apparent pain for 43 minutes before dying from a heart attack. The next year, a prisoner being executed told witnesses "It feels like acid" and "my body is on fire".