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Oklahoma executes man convicted of killing couple in robbery

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma executed a man on Tuesday convicted of stabbing an elderly couple to death during a robbery in 2000 that netted about $73, some of which he and convicted accomplices used to buy tacos.

James Lewis DeRosa was pronounced dead at 6:07 p.m. CDT (1907 ET) after a lethal injection, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said. He was the second person executed in Oklahoma this year and the 16th in the United States.

DeRosa, 36, declined a final meal and when asked if he had any last words, replied, "No ma'am," corrections department spokesman Jerry Massie said.

DeRosa was convicted of killing Curtis Plummer, 73, and Gloria Plummer, 70, of Poteau, Oklahoma, while robbing their home. DeRosa was sentenced to death in October 2001, authorities said.

Thirteen members of the Plummers' family were present at a state prison for the execution, Massie said.

According to trial testimony, DeRosa was employed for a short time by the Plummers and had told several friends they would be an easy target to rob. Eric Castleberry, then 21, and Scotty White, then 18, agreed to help.

White drove DeRosa and Castleberry to the Plummers' house, according to court documents. After the Plummers let them inside, DeRosa and Castleberry pulled knives and DeRosa stabbed them multiple times and slit their throats.

DeRosa and Castleberry ransacked the house, ultimately taking about $73 in cash and the couple's pickup truck, which they left in a nearby lake, according to court documents.

The two met White afterward, and after disposing of the bloody knife and clothes, used some of the money to buy tacos, according to court documents.

Castleberry testified at DeRosa's trial in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. White received two 25-year prison sentences, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

(Editing by David Bailey, Dan Grebler and Lisa Shumaker)

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