OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma court has denied an appeal by a death row inmate who claims he is not mentally competent for execution.
Benjamin Cole was scheduled to be executed Oct. 7 for the murder of his 9-month-old daughter, Brianna Cole.
On December 20, 2002, Cole told investigators that he was trying to get his 9-month-old daughter to stop crying when he grabbed the baby by the ankles and pushed her legs toward her head until she flipped over.
Brianna’s spine had been snapped in half and her aorta was completely torn through.
Cole’s attorneys claim he is insane, but the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Cole is mentally competent for execution.
“Even though Petitioner was shown minor signs of mental illness, the record reveals that Petitioner’s mental state is not so distorted by delusions or mental illness that his awareness of the crime and punishment has little or no relation to the understanding of those concepts shared by the community as a whole. Petitioner’s lengthy conversations with respondent exhibit the mental state requisite for competence to be executed,” the court wrote in its ruling.
Cole’s execution is currently on hold after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued an indefinite stay on executions following a mix-up with the lethal injection drugs.