McAlester — A man convicted of committing three murders in three states during a 10-day rampage was executed on Tuesday in Oklahoma for one of the murders, the death of a woman whose credit cards he used to buy Christmas presents for his family.
Steven Ray Thacker, aged 42, was pronounced dead at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
"I don't deserve it, but as God has forgiven me, I hope you will forgive me for the pain I've caused," Thacker said while strapped to a hospital gurney. He thanked his family and friends for their support and added: "An eternity in heaven is mine."
Thacker then winked at his stepfather, Donald Johnston, who silently nodded back at him.
Thacker waived his right to ask for clemency from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month. Courts previously rejected Thacker's argument that he has a bipolar disorder and shouldn't be executed.
Thacker was convicted of abducting 25-year-old Laci Dawn Hill from her home in 1999 after going there under the guise of looking at a pool table she had advertised for sale. Her body was found six days later at a cabin. She had been raped and stabbed.
According to prosecutors, Thacker fled Oklahoma, stole a car and broke into a Missouri home looking for money. Forrest Reed Boyd, 24, arrived at his home mid-theft and was stabbed to death by Thacker, who received a life sentence in that case.
Thacker then took Boyd's car and drove to Tennessee, where he killed Ray Patterson, 52, after Patterson arrived to help tow the car and discovered Thacker possessed stolen credit cards.
Marnie Reed, who described herself as Hill's best friend, read a statement after the execution on behalf of Hill's family.
"They say time heals all wounds, which I guess is true, but Laci's murder has left a huge scar to remind us all daily of what we have lost, what we will never have again," she said.
While searching for Thacker, the FBI said he had been recently laid off from his job as a plumber's apprentice. Thacker's father-in-law, Keith Roberson, told the Tulsa World newspaper at the time that Thacker didn't have much money to spend on his family but suddenly seemed flush with cash.
"We just can't believe how he sat here at Christmas with us and carried on like nothing happened," Roberson told the newspaper.