Oklahoma executed a man who went on a killing spree in 1999 and murdered three people. Steven Ray Thacker, 42, apologized to the victims' families and asked for their forgiveness before being given the lethal injection.
"I don't deserve it, but as God has forgiven me, I hope you will forgive me for the pain I've caused. An eternity in heaven is mine," Thacker said before dying, according to the Associated Press.
It was the end of a painful trial and experience for the victims' families who lost their loved ones in 1999. Thacker was found guilty of kidnapping 25-year-old Laci Dawn Hill from her home, raping her, and then murdering her.
After Hill was murdered, Thacker fled to Missouri, where he broke into a home to locate the finances he desperately needed. The homeowner, Forrest Reed Boyd, arrived during the robbery and was stabbed to death by Thacker.
Thacker then took Boyd's car to Tennessee, where he killed Ray Patterson after Patterson discovered that Thacker was in possession of stolen credit cards. It was an incredibly brutal killing spree that left many people shaken and in deep mourning.
Thacker was eventually caught and was given two death sentences and one sentence of life in prison. He had been on death row since 1999 and reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder but refused to take his medication on a regular basis, court documents showed.
"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," Marnie Reed, a friend of Hill, said after the execution. "It was time. Now we can truly celebrate and remember what an amazing person she really was."
Thacker's family said that he was desperate for money, given that it was Christmas and he had just been laid off from his job. He felt he needed to provide for his family and went on a spree to collect the credit cards to purchase presents.
Thacker is the first person executed in Oklahoma this year, and the fifth in the United States.