Oklahoman pleads guilty to killing 3 and cutting out the heart of one

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CHICKASHA, Oklahoma — An Oklahoma man has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to killing three people, including a woman who had her heart ripped out, weeks after being released from prison as part of a massive commutation effort.

Lawrence Paul Anderson, 44, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Grady County District Court to three counts of murder and a single count of maiming, assault, and battery.

Anderson was sentenced to life in prison without parole as part of a plea deal in which prosecutor Jason Hicks dropped plans to seek the death penalty at the request of the victims’ families.

“They don’t want a trial,” Hicks said at a news conference after the sentencing. “They don’t want to sit in a courtroom and listen to all the gory details of what happened to their loved ones.”

Investigators said Anderson broke into the home of 41-year-old Andrea Lynn Blankenship, fatally stabbed her and removed her heart, taking her to the home of her uncle and aunt, Leon Pye and Delsie Pye.

Anderson then cooked and tried to serve the heart to the Pyes, then fatally stabbed Leon Pye, 67, and his 4-year-old granddaughter, Kaeos Yates, and wounded their aunt, Delsie Pye, authorities said.

During sentencing, Delsie Pye, 66, said she was heartbroken that a family member would commit such a crime.

Tasha Yates, the mother of Kaeos Yates, cursed at Anderson before running out of the courtroom.

“Who kills a baby… who does that?” Yates yelled.

Anderson was released from prison less than a month before the February 2021 attacks after Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted his 20-year prison sentence for drug-related offenses following a recommendation by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. state.

A grand jury investigation later found that Anderson was incorrectly placed on the commutation docket in August 2019 after the board in July 2019 denied his request for commutation, which under board rules requires him to wait three years before to reapply.

The board later recommended the commutation, which was approved by Stitt, following the second request.

Delsie Pye and the families of the victims have sued Stitt, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and others for federal civil rights violations related to Anderson’s release.

The lawsuit is pending, and all defendants have filed motions to dismiss the action.

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