Crime & Courts

Oklahoma man executed for killings of woman, child

McALESTER, Okla. —The state of Oklahoma on Thursday executed a man who was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1993 fatal beatings of his former girlfriend's daughter and grandchild.

Julius Ricardo Young was pronounced dead at 6:27 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, said Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. He was put to death by lethal injection.

A Tulsa County jury convicted Young of killing Joyland Morgan and her son, Kewan, whose bodies were found Oct. 1, 1993, at their Tulsa apartment.

Young, 60, maintained his innocence, telling the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board during a hearing in December, "I cannot confess to something I did not do."

The board voted 4-1 to deny him clemency, and all of his appeals were exhausted.

Prosecutors said Young was upset that Morgan's mother had recently ended their relationship; they said he broke into the family's apartment and beat the two with a baseball bat.

Young's attorney, Steve Presson, said at the clemency hearing that prosecutors used outdated blood testing to link Young to the killings and that the blood evidence was later destroyed when a freezer in the Tulsa Police Department's evidence room malfunctioned, prohibiting further testing.

State prosecutors argued the evidence against Young is strong, noting the jury's verdict had been upheld by various appellate courts.