U.S. News

Oklahoma man is first U.S. execution of 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma on Thursday executed a man convicted of beating a handcuffed convenience store clerk to death with a baseball bat, the first person put to death this year in the United States.

Billy Don Alverson, 39, was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. local time, Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said by telephone from McAlester, Oklahoma.

For the second consecutive time, one of the drugs Oklahoma used to carry out the execution was pentobarbital, which is sometimes used to euthanize animals. The drug was substituted for another that was in short supply.

Alverson was convicted of murdering convenience store clerk Richard Yost on February 25, 1995 by beating him to death with a baseball bat after tying and handcuffing him during a robbery. Three accomplices were also convicted. One, Darwin Demond Brown, was executed in 2009.

Alverson’s last words were: “First, I would like to say to the Yost family, I’m sorry, forgive me. To my own family, I’m all right. God is good. Don’t you cry.”

His last meal was a large pepperoni and Italian sausage pizza and a large Dr. Pepper, Massie said.

Editing by Greg McCune