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Death Row baby killer ‘has no idea he’s about to be executed’, his lawyers claim

A man who is on Death Row for killing his baby daughter has no idea he is about to be executed, his lawyers claim.

The defence team of Benjamin Cole, 57, says the killer dad should be awarded a competency hearing to decide whether he is fit to be executed.

Lawyers argued he is suffering from schizophrenia – which they say is linked to an identified brain lesion and abuse he experienced as a child.

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Benjamin killed his nine-month-old daughter because she started crying, reports The Mirror.

Her spine snapped after he grabbed her legs, which caused her body to bend backwards.

Attorney Tom Hird said Cole "simply does not have a rational understanding of why Oklahoma seeks to execute him".

He is due to be executed on October 20, but a Supreme Court ruling states this cannot take place if a convicted person has become mentally ill.

Hird said: "Benjamin Cole is incapacitated by his mental illness to the point of being essentially non-functional.

"His own attorneys have not been able to have a meaningful interaction with him for years, and the staff who interact with him in the prison every day confirm that he cannot communicate or take care of his most basic hygiene."

The state, meanwhile, argues Cole merely has a personality disorder and is manipulative.

Pittsburg County District Judge Mike Hogan disagreed with the arguments of Cole's lawyers and drew on analysis by a psychologist at the Oklahoma Forensic Centre, who said they believed Cole would be able to understand he is to be executed.

Cole is known to crawl around in his cell, is suffering from physical ailments and has been "pulling out his own teeth and mailing them to his mother and his legal team".

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The appeal for clemency was knocked down by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board by four votes to one last week and after the competency trial was denied, the team said it would be appealing the judge's decision.

During the examination cited by Judge Hogan, Cole is reported to have said: "Are you asking if I see little green men running around on the floor that beams up in a spaceship to Venus and look for the purple monsters?

"No, I do not see things. I never have."

Warden Jim Farris also believes Cole to be fit to be executed and cited the same report.

The dad was sentenced for the murder of his daughter Brianna Cole in 2002.

Speaking about the crime, Brianna's uncle Dr Bryan Young said: "I can't fathom how any human could do what this man did to this baby.

"How could any human do that to a baby? The mind boggles me. That's why I am encouraging you guys to deny him clemency."


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