OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to recommend clemency for a death row inmate who claims self defense in the shooting death of two in 2001.
Phillip Hancock, 59, is scheduled to be executed November 30 for the 2001 murders of Robert ‘Bob’ Jett Jr. and James Lynch.
Hancock has always admitted he killed Jett and Lynch, however he claims he killed them to stay alive.
His defense attorney, lawmakers, and advocates say his life should be spared for acting in self defense.
They argue the night of the murder, Hancock was unarmed and lured into the OKC home.
“Jett was armed with a handgun and two knives and was high on methamphetamine,” said Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow. “Jett attacked Hancock with a metal bar and ordered him to get into a locked cage.”
“Phil thought to himself, ‘If I get in that cage, that’s death,’” said Shawn Nolan, Hancock’s attorney.
His defense argues he was able to wrestle the gun away from Jett and shot both men to get away.
“If you try to come and put me in that cage, and you tried to do what they tried to do, I’ll kill you,” said Rep. JJ Humphreys, R-Lane.
Prosecutors argue the gunshot wounds and testimony from a witness who heard what happened that night doesn’t match up with Hancock’s account.
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Now, the Pardon and Parole Board has voted to recommend clemency ahead of Hancock’s scheduled execution.
We are very heartened by the Board’s recognition that Phillip Hancock was fighting for his life when this tragic incident occurred and should never have been sentenced to death in the first place. We hope Governor Stitt will adopt the Board’s recommendation and commute Phil’s death sentence since this is a clear case of self-defense.Shawn Nolan, attorney for Phillip Hancock
With the board’s vote, the decision to spare Hancock’s life now lies with the governor.