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Oklahoma executes man who killed three in 1999 spree

By Steve Olafson

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma executed a man on Tuesday convicted of stabbing a woman to death in 1999 after he responded to her classified regarding a pool table and of killing two more people in nearby states as he fled authorities.

Steven Ray Thacker, 42, was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. Central time at Oklahoma State Prison in McAlester. He was the fifth person executed in the United States this year and the first in Oklahoma.

Thacker, a laid-off plumber's helper at the time, kidnapped, raped and then murdered Laci Dawn Hill, 25, two days before Christmas in 1999. He had met her at her home in Bixby, Oklahoma, south of Tulsa when he answered her classified ad.

Police said Thacker was broke and wanted money to buy Christmas presents for his wife and her two children.

After Thacker was identified on a surveillance tape using Hill's debit card, he led authorities on a multi-state chase, fatally stabbing people in Missouri and Tennessee.

Thacker stabbed Forrest Reed Boyd, 24, to death after Boyd found Thacker burglarizing his home in Aldrich in southwestern Missouri, about 200 miles from Bixby, authorities said.

Later, Thacker killed wrecker driver Ray Patterson, 52, of Dyersburg, Tennessee, who had responded to Thacker's request for a tow, authorities said.

Thacker was convicted of all three murders, and had been held in a Tennessee prison until his transfer last week to the Oklahoma state prison in McAlester for his execution on Tuesday.

Thacker suffered from bipolar disorder but refused to stay on medication designed to curb his mood swings, according to court documents.

Oklahoma executed six of the 43 people put to death in the United States last year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

(Editing by David Bailey, Cynthia Johnston, Lisa Shumaker and Bob Burgdorfer)

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