CHICKASHA, Okla. (KFOR) – A suspect in a Chickasha triple murder is facing several charges Tuesday after he allegedly stabbed and killed three people in early February.
Lawrence Anderson, 42, is facing three counts of murder in the first degree, one count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and one count of maiming. The charges all stem from the triple murder in Chickasha in early February. He was denied bond Tuesday.
Horrific details were revealed in the murders of four-year-old Kaeos Yates, 67-year-old Leon Pye and their neighbor 41-year-old Andrea Blankenship. All of them were brutally murdered on the same day and on the same Chickasha street. The murders allegedly came at the hands of Anderson, Pye’s nephew. Anderson is a convicted felon who had recently been let out of prison on a commuted sentence.
A warning, the details revealed Tuesday in the Grady County Courthouse and in this report are graphic and very disturbing.
“I hope he gets the death penalty,” said Haylee Blankenship, the 18-year-old daughter of Andrea, who was murdered in early February. “I hope that he spends the rest of his life thinking about it until he gets his life taken, just like he took those people’s lives.”
Blankenship spoke out just hours after charges were presented against the man who allegedly murdered her mother.
“It’s terrible and I’m still in shock and my whole family is,” she said. “It’s stuff that you see all the time on TV and you never think it’s going to happen or it doesn’t affect you.”
Tuesday, the horrific sequence of events was revealed in the Grady County Courthouse. Investigators allege Anderson killed Andrea Blankenship first after forcing his way into her home through a back door. According to court documents Anderson “removed her heart.” The documents state that Anderson took Blankenship’s heart to his uncle Leon Pye’s home. He allegedly “cooked” it and tried to make Leon and his wife Delsie eat it before attacking them along with their granddaughter Kaeos, who was only visiting for the day. She was dropped off by her parents Taranzo Pye and Tasha Yates hours before the murders.
“Tell your kids you love them,” Taranzo Pye said. “Do everything with them that you possibly can.”
Delsie would survive the attack. However, she suffered stab wounds in both eyes. Now, she has been released from the hospital and was wearing sunglasses in the courtroom Tuesday.
“The death penalty is absolutely on the table,” said Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks.
Hicks filed the charges. While there hasn’t been a final decision made of capital punishment, he said it’s still an option.
“I am a heavy lean towards filing that,” he said.
The gruesome murders happened just three weeks after Anderson was released from prison on a commuted sentence. Hicks blasted the pardon and parole board’s decision to let Anderson out. He pointed to his long criminal past.
“I really think an offender such as this should have not ever been able to even apply for a commutation,” Hicks said.
Meanwhile, both families are left to grieve and hope for justice.
“She was filled with so much love and she cared about everyone so much,” Blankenship said.
“My little soul is broken, my baby,” Tasha Yates said.
According to Hicks, Anderson’s commutation application was one in a pile of about 600. Hicks claims there isn’t enough time to properly look through them all, since the Pardon and Parole Board only meets once per month for three days. Five people on the board look over them.
“It’s too many,” Hicks said. “You don’t have the time to look through those things and give any meaningful consideration to that.”
The Department of Corrections said Anderson was a “high risk to offend” at the time of his application for commutation. Hicks said he believes this stems from criminal justice reform happening, but not in the direction he thinks it should go.
“We have put politics and releasing inmates in front of public safety,” Hicks said. “The goal that we have set in Oklahoma is to decrease the prison population with no thought of public safety.”