Oklahoma executes Benjamin Cole for brutally killing his 9-month-old daughter despite schizophrenia claims

Oklahoma executes Benjamin Cole for brutally killing his 9-month-old daughter despite schizophrenia claims
Benjamin Cole was executed by Oklahoma by lethal injection for killing his 9-month old baby in 2002. (Oklahoma State Dept of Corrections/ Oklahoma Attorney General's Office)

This article contains distressing information that could be traumatic for some readers. Discretion is advised.

MCALESTER, OKLAHOMA: Benjamin Cole, convicted of killing his 9-month-old daughter in 2002, was executed on Thursday morning, October 20. Despite the defense attorney's argument that the convict was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was severely mentally ill, Oklahoma went ahead with the execution by injecting lethal chemicals to bring justice to Brianna Victoria Cole.

The case brought the attention of many on how the execution exactly works in cases where the accuser suffers from mental illness. On the other side, the relatives of the deceased infant criticized the delay in justice, taking almost two decades. CNN quoted Donna Daniel, Brianna’s aunt, as saying, “She died a horrific death. And he gets off easy and gets to get a little injection in his arm and go to sleep in his death. He did not give Brianna the chance to ever grow up, to even have her first Christmas, to meet her family.”

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The other relative, Bryan Young, who witnessed the execution reflected on what was next for them, “Go back to normal.” Daniel added, “As normal as it can be.” “We should not have to wait 20 years for a 9-month-old baby to get her justice.” Cole’s attorney, Tom Hird, told reporters, “Ben lacked a rational understanding of why Oklahoma took his life today. “As Oklahoma proceeds with its relentless march to execute one mentally ill, a traumatized man after another, we should pause to ask whether this is really who we are, and who we want to be.”

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Chief of Operations Justin Farris told reporters, “The procedure for Cole on Thursday was 'uneventful and without any complications'. Cole declined a ceremonial last meal and chose not to have a spiritual adviser with him.” Oklahoma has scheduled to execute two dozen inmates on death row, where Cole was second on the list. It is likely to be completed through 2024, a decision widely criticized by many, reported Daily Mail.

Sean Murphy of the Associated Press remembered Cole praying for Oklahoma and the United States, “I forgive everyone that I have done wrong.” Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said in a statement that defended his judgment and expressed confidence that "Cole was sufficiently competent to be executed." As his last words, Cole said, "choose Jesus while you still can" and "keep your eyes peeled...Be ready at all times," reported Daily Mail.

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He said, “Although his attorneys claim Cole is mentally ill to the point of catatonia, the fact is that Cole fully cooperated with a mental evaluation in July of this year." He added, “The evaluator, who was not hired by Cole or the State, found Cole to be competent to be executed and that "Mr. Cole does not currently evidence any substantial, overt signs of mental illness, intellectual impairment, and/or neurocognitive impairment.”

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Five days before Christmas in 2002, Cole murdered Brianna, who was aged nine months, by forcibly bending the baby backwards until her spine broke and her aorta tore in a fit of rage. Cole was reportedly enraged after her cries interrupted his video game. 

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