CHICKASHA, Okla. (KFOR) – Amid heartbreak and anger, the families of three Chickasha triple murder victims are seeking answers Wednesday after the alleged suspect was released from prison on a commuted sentence just weeks before the murders.
“He ruined everything,” said Taranzo Pye, the father of 4-year-old Kaeos Yates and son of 67-year-old Leon Pye, who were both murdered. “He ruined my whole life.”
“[The Oklahoma State Pardon and Parole Board] have failed to do their job in protecting Oklahomans,” Brooke Burris Wofford, the cousin of Andrea Blankenship who was also murdered, said.
42-year-old Lawrence Paul Anderson was a free man for less than three weeks before he allegedly went to a complete stranger’s home. According to court documents, Anderson stabbed Andrea Blankenship and cut her heart out. He allegedly then took the heart to his uncle, Leon Pye’s home where he cooked it and tried to feed it to his family.
Then, Leon Pye and Kaeos Yates were both stabbed to death. Delsie Pye was also stabbed in both eyes but survived.
The families are nearing one month since the loss of their loved ones.
“Everyone’s still in shock,” said Haylee Blankenship, Andrea Blankenship’s daughter.
“For me right now it’s just like random bursts of sorrow,” said Tasha Yates, the mother of Kaeos Yates.
The families said they are also trying to figure out why the state pardon and parole board voted 3-1 to release Anderson on a commuted sentence. The decision was then signed off on by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
“As a result of that, unfortunately three innocent people have lost their lives,” Burris Wofford said.
Anderson’s criminal past is extensive. He was originally sentenced to prison in 2006 for attacking his girlfriend and pointing a gun at her. He went back to prison in 2012 for selling crack cocaine near an elementary school. Anderson was sentenced again in 2017 for having a gun after a felony conviction and smuggling drugs into jail.
“We have put politics and releasing inmates in front of public safety,” Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks said. “The goal that we have set in Oklahoma is to decrease the prison population with no thought of public safety.”
Hicks blasted the decision Tuesday. He said that Anderson’s application for a commutation was put in with 600 other offenders hoping to be released.
“It’s too many,” Hicks said. “You don’t have the time to look through those things and give any meaningful consideration.”
Blankenship’s family said they have tried to get in touch with the governor and the pardon and parole board. However, they have not had any luck.
“Those two individuals have not been helpful,” Burris Wofford said.
KFOR tried to help. We emailed the governor’s office a week ago working to get a statement. We were unable to get one due to the winter weather coming through the state. We emailed again Monday but received no response. We also called and emailed Steve Bickley with the pardon and parole board but his phone went straight to voicemail. We did not receive any response to the text messages.
The Pye family’s attorney, Robert Wagner said the family held their funeral services Saturday. He said they also have several questions regarding Anderson’s release.
Anderson’s first appearance was Tuesday, February 23. He is being housed in the Grady County Jail facing 3 counts of murder in the first degree and one count each of maiming and assault and battery with a deadly weapon.