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Attorney General O’Connor Comments on Pardon and Parole Board Vote on Benjamin Cole

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General John O'Connor today released the following statement after the Pardon and Parole Board denied clemency for Benjamin Robert Cole, Sr.

“Brianna Victoria Cole was just nine months old when she was brutally murdered at the hands of her own father, Benjamin Cole, Sr., on December 20, 2002, when her cries interrupted Cole’s video game. Cole, annoyed by Brianna’s crying and fussing, grabbed Brianna by the ankles, forcefully pushed her ankles toward her head, bent her back in half, and flipped her over. Cole then went back to his video game and left Brianna to die in agony in her crib.

“Brianna’s autopsy revealed her spine had been ‘snapped in half and her abdominal aorta had been completely torn through due to non-accidental stretching.’ Ultimately, an Oklahoma jury decided that death was the only just and appropriate punishment for the 2002 heinous murder of innocent Brianna. The conviction and sentence were affirmed after years of thorough reviews by the appellate courts.

“Although his attorneys claim Cole is mentally ill to the point of catatonia, the fact is that Cole fully cooperated with a mental evaluation in July of this year. The evaluator, who was not hired by Cole or the State, found Cole to be competent to be executed and that ‘Mr. Cole does not currently evidence any substantial, overt signs of mental illness, intellectual impairment, and/or neurocognitive impairment.’

“I am grateful that the Board denied Cole’s request for executive clemency. Our thoughts and prayers are with the other members of Brianna’s family.”