Crime & Courts

Killer won't get requested death

TULSA, Okla. —Calling the death penalty for a child-killer who has asked to be executed akin to "state-ordered suicide," a Tulsa judge has sentenced the man to life in prison without parole.

Tulsa County District Judge Clancy Smith handed three life terms — two without parole — on Friday to Joshua Muller, who fatally shot two children and injured a third as they sat in a gas station parking lot.

Muller had asked for the death penalty and blocked his attorneys from detailing psychological issues that could have kept him from getting it.

"From the beginning, I've wanted to get it over fast," Muller told Smith during the sentencing. "I'm just going to kill somebody else, to let you know. I'll send you a letter when I do."

Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Muller, who killed Leah Harris-Fuqua, 12, and Derriko Ross, 16, in a dispute over a stolen wallet July 22, 2007.

He also injured Sheridan Rand, then 12, who survived several gunshot wounds.

Muller created a "great risk of death to more than one person," which is a legal qualifier for the death penalty, First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said.

"He himself, and I think this speaks volumes, believes that he deserves the ultimate punishment," Drummond said. "This case speaks for itself."

Muller, who has said he hears "messages from God," has indicated that execution would be divine justice and that he is worried that he will be targeted by other inmates once he is sent to prison.

Defendants' wishes typically don't sway judges' decisions, Smith said, and there are no assurances that Muller might back out of his request for the death penalty. She said prosecutors met the aggravating circumstances that allow execution but that sentencing Muller to death would amount to fulfilling a killer's desires.