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Oklahoma set to execute man for killing girlfriend's mother

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A man convicted of raping and stabbing to death his live-in girlfriend's mother was due to be executed on Tuesday, more than a week after the governor rejected a parole board recommendation to reduce his sentence to life in prison.

Brian Darrell Davis, 38, was scheduled to die by lethal injection at a state prison. He would be the second Oklahoma inmate executed in two weeks and the third in 2013.

Davis was convicted of stabbing Josephine "Jody" Sanford, 52, to death and raping her at the apartment he shared with her daughter, Stacey Sanford, and their child. He admitted killing her during a fight in November 2001, but said he had not intended to do so.

Davis gave several versions of the events, but each one included that he returned home from a club early that morning and discovered that his live-in girlfriend Stacey and their 3-year-old daughter were gone. They were staying at a hotel, prosecutors said.

Davis had called Stacey Sanford's mother twice looking for them, prompting Jody Sanford to go on her own search that took her to the apartment, court records showed. Davis said he and Jody Sanford had consensual sex, argued and fought, and he admitted to stabbing her.

Stacey Sanford found her mother dead when she returned in the morning. Authorities said she had six stab wounds, a broken jaw and marks on her neck. DNA tests determined that semen found in her body matched Davis'.

He left the apartment and drove away in Jody Sanford's van, getting into a single vehicle crash about nine miles away that ejected him from the vehicle. He was in the hospital being treated for serious injuries when police interviewed him.

Davis said Sanford had attacked him and cut him on the thumb and that he never intended to kill her. However, jurors found the killing to be especially heinous, atrocious or cruel and Davis was sentenced to death.

On June 13, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin denied Davis' request for clemency, rejecting a parole board recommendation that his sentence be commuted to life without parole.

(Editing by David Bailey and Richard Chang)

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