Death-row inmate, Phillip Hancock, has always claimed self defense.
The case dates back to 2001, when an unarmed Hancock went over to Robert Jett Jr.’s Oklahoma City home.
Officials say Jett and his friend, James Lynch, were high on meth.
“My brother was not an angel, but he was not a monster,” said Ryan Jett, the victim’s brother.
Later that night, the defense said Jett, who was armed with a loaded gun, became enraged after Hancock said he smoked one of his cigarettes. Jett grabbed a metal bar and told Hancock to get into a cage in the small room.
A witness, whom Hancock never harmed, saw everything.
“And [Jett] told him ‘I told you to get in the cage,’ and he was standing right over him. And the guy, he didn’t say nothing, fight him, or nothing,” said Shawn “Smokey” Tarp in a police interview never viewed in court. “He wasn’t kidding at that point.”
Prosecutors said Jett then calmed down and walked away. That’s when prosecutors claim Hancock attacked Jett then Lynch.
The witness hid and told investigators she heard her two friends being shot by Hancock.
Defense attorneys have a different version of what happened that night.
Hancock claims as Jett began to wield the metal bar, Hancock lunged for Jett’s gun. A fight between all three men ensued.
“If someone tries to put me in a cage, if someone tries to swing a pipe at me, somebody’s going to die that day,” Representative Kevin McDugle R-Broken Arrow, told the Pardon and Parole Board Wednesday.
Hancock claimed he grabbed Jett’s gun and shot him before Jett ran outside. Hancock then shot Lynch before running after Jett.
“Robert Lee Jett said to Hancock ‘I’m going to die.’ Hancock responded, ‘Yes, you are,’ and shot him again,” said Aime Ely, with the Attorney General’s office.
“Bob gave me no choice. I had to defend myself that day,” said Hancock to the board.
However, prosecutors said gun shot wounds don’t match Hancock’s story. They also said there were no signs of a struggle in the small room.
Hancock drove off. He never called police and never sought medical attention.
More than a year later, while incarcerated for another crime, Hancock confessed to the killings claiming he was defending himself.
At the trial, prosecutors said his story changed on the stand. The jury didn’t buy it.
“Hancock’s credibility was absolutely eviscerated at trial,” said Joshua Lockett, with the Attorney General’s office.
On Wednesday, the PPB recommended clemency in a 3-2 vote.
The victims’ families were shocked.
“I just want to see justice carried out after 22 years,” said Robert Lynch, Lynch’s brother. “I’ll put it into a word how I feel about clemency for the defendant. No!”
Hancock’s then-girlfriend also signed a written affidavit admitted she paid Jett to “take care of” Hancock after a fight over drugs. However, the court did not find her testimony credible.
Now, it is up to the governor whether to take the board’s recommendation.