[Masthead] Mostly Cloudy ~ 66°F  
Wind Advisory
Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015

End draws near for death row inmate Thacker

Saturday, January 19, 2013

(Photo)
Steven Ray Thacker today.
Steven Ray Thacker, who is serving death row sentences in Tennessee and Oklahoma, as well as a life sentence in Missouri without the possibility of parole for the murders of three individuals across the three states, has been set for an execution date of March 12 in Oklahoma. The announcement was made this past Wednesday after Thacker had exhausted all his appeals in Oklahoma.

Thacker began his killing spree on Dec. 23, 1999 when he kidnapped Laci Dawn Hill in Bixby, Okla. At the time, Thacker was looking for someone to rob in order to be able to purchase Christmas gifts for his wife, Trena Thacker and her two children. He responded to a pool table advertisement placed by Hill and after an attempt to rob her proved unsuccessful, Thacker took Hill to a remote cabin where he proceeded to tie her to a chair then violently raped her. Thacker testified in 2002 that he intended to leave her tied to the chair but was concerned that she would escape and turn him in to the authorities. Thacker then began to strangle Hill but Hill's resistance was formidable and he was forced to stab her twice in the chest in order to kill her. Hill was found dead in the cabin six days later having succumbed to penetrating knife wounds in her left lung, which caused massive internal bleeding and ultimately her death.

Hill's death led to a warrant for Thacker's arrest being issued on Dec. 30, 1999. Thacker fled into Missouri, managing to stay one step ahead of police as he hid in the woods for two days. While in Missouri, Thacker broke into several homes, including that of Forrest Reed Boyd, who unfortunately returned home during Thacker's crime. Thacker stabbed Boyd in the back several times, making him Thacker's second victim. Thacker took Boyd's vehicle and credit cards and fled into Tennessee, but he experienced car trouble crossing the bridge from Missouri into Tennessee.

(Photo)
Thacker was arrested on Jan. 2, 2000 in a motel in Union City after he evaded law enforcement officials for four days across three states. Thacker has been serving death row sentences in Tennessee and Oklahoma concurrently.
Hoping to reach the mountains to the east to continue to evade police, Thacker called for a tow truck. On the chilly morning of Jan. 2, 2000, Ray Patterson would answer Thacker's call for help; it would unfortunately be the last call he responded to. After towing Thacker back to Dyersburg, Patterson ran the credit card that he was presented only to discover that it was stolen. Patterson confronted Thacker and the ensuing confrontation cost Patterson his life.

"Ray was a great Christian man," said Ray's oldest brother, Jerry Patterson in a June 2012 interview with the State Gazette. "There was no need for him (Thacker) to do what he did. He (Ray) would have helped him with whatever he needed."

The State Gazette revisited the case this week with District Attorney General Phil Bivens after the announcement was made by Oklahoma courts to set an execution date for Thacker. Bivens said that Thacker struck him as a guy who was going to do whatever he could do to stay free.

"He was pure evil," said Bivens by phone. "This guy is the worst of the worst."

Thacker was only the second death penalty case that Bivens tried in his over 20-year tenure as district attorney. He will be the first put to death, as the defendant in his first death penalty case died of cancer while on death row. Bivens explained that the death penalty is reserved for cases that have aggravating circumstances such as prior murders, murders committed in the commission of a felony and flight from arrest. Bivens says that when aggravating factors are present, the death penalty option is then presented to the victim's family to get their opinion on the matter.

According to Bivens, in the early going of the case, Thacker was presented with a plea deal of life in prison if he pleaded guilty to Patterson's murder. The Patterson family was supportive of the deal. However, Thacker would not agree to the arrangement unless Oklahoma and Missouri also agreed to offer him life in prison for the other murders as well. Missouri accepted the agreement but Oklahoma did not, pushing the case to trial in Tennessee.

Bivens says that he will not attend the execution and says that although it may be surprising to some that Oklahoma set its execution ahead of Tennessee despite Thacker being convicted in Tennessee first, the truth of the matter is that currently no one is being executed in Tennessee because the state is out of the drugs used for lethal injection and they are currently unavailable.

Bivens believes that there is no redemption for someone like Thacker who killed three people in three states in less than two weeks. He also kidnapped a woman and her young children before releasing them when he was on the run.

(Photo)
Ray Patterson
"I think people get the wrong impression sometimes about the Patterson family," said Bivens. "They don't get any joy out of Thacker being executed. Thacker made his choices."

The State Gazette spoke with Jerry Patterson on Saturday by phone and he said that he is glad to see it done. Jerry, who is a devout Christian, says he has forgiven Thacker but believes he has to pay his debt to society.

"The law of the land convicted him," said Patterson. "There is no doubt that he did it. It is a just reward for taking people's lives."

Jerry says he plans to travel to Oklahoma to witness Thacker's execution. He says that at the time, if given the opportunity, he will have some words for Thacker.

"I'm not sure what I will say to him or even if I will have an opportunity to say anything. I still need time to put my words together," he said.

Thacker will be executed on March 12 in Oklahoma by lethal injection.


Comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on stategazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

I support the Patterson's!

-- Posted by chief_ty20 on Sun, Jan 20, 2013, at 8:39 AM

What a scumbag. Glad he will receive the ultimate punishment for his crimes.

-- Posted by Chrisbivens on Sun, Jan 20, 2013, at 8:25 PM

a devout christian who has forgiven thacker is glad to see it happen. that makes sense how?

-- Posted by movingfaraway on Sun, Jan 20, 2013, at 10:20 PM

"the truth of the matter is that currently no one is being executed in Tennessee because the state is out of the drugs used for lethal injection and they are currently unavailable."

"HEY, I GOT UM" AND MINE ARE MORE HUMANE THEN THE ONE'S THE STATE OF TENNESSEE USE... 2- 9MM SLUGS TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD... IF THEY CAN'T DO IT, I WILL VOLUNTEER... THIS IS NOT A MAN, IT IS PURE EVIL IN THE FORM OF A HUMAN BEING...

AND AS FAR AS THE STATE BEING OUT OF THE DRUGS...

WHAT A LAME A$$ EXCUSE...

FOR YOU BLEEDING HEARTS, THE MORE SIMPATHY YOU SHOW EVIL, THE MORE EVIL YOU WILL SEE IN THIS WORLD... THERE ARE NO DETERRENCE, IF YOU BRING BACK SOME OF THESE SO CALLED CRUEL DETERRENCE... YOU WILL SEE A LOT OF THESE CRIMES STOP...

JUST MY OPINION...

-- Posted by Elvin Patch on Mon, Jan 21, 2013, at 6:51 AM

I'll bet the humane society has some meds they'll donate for the cause.

-- Posted by seniorcomment on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 4:54 PM

Fry him...it will be a prelude to whats ahead for him.

-- Posted by convince.me on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 4:56 PM


Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: