Malcolm Rent Johnson

Executed January 6, 2000 by Lethal Injection in Oklahoma

1st murderer executed in U.S. in 2000
599th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Oklahoma in 2000
20th murderer executed in Oklahoma since 1976

Since 1976
Date of Execution
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder-Execution)
Date of
(Race/Sex/Age at Murder)
Date of
Method of
to Murderer
Date of
Lethal Injection
Malcolm Rent Johnson

B / M / 23 - 41

Ura Alma Thompson

W / F / 76


On October 27, 1981, Frank Thompson found his aunt, 76 year old Ura Alma Thompson, deceased on the floor of her Oklahoma City apartment. Following an autopsy, the medical examiner found evidence of forcible sexual intercourse before death. He concluded that although Thompson was not strangled, she died of asphyxiation either because of pressure on her chest during the intercourse or because her assailant covered her mouth and nose. On October 27, 1981, police arrested Johnson on an unrelated weapons charge at his apartment, where they seized several items later identified as belonging to Thompson, including furs, a typewriter, watch, key rings, cigarette case, hand mirror, rings, a purse and other valuables. Johnson denied knowledge of the homicide, but when told that semen found in Thompson's body matched his own, he reportedly responded, "you couldn't have found my semen in her, I didn't come." State Police chemist Joyce Gilchrist testified that semen found on the bed coverings in Thompson's apartment matched Johnson's blood type. She also testified that several strands of hair found at the scene of the crime were "consistent microscopically" with petitioner's hair. A neighbor testified that Johnson was near the scene at the time of the murders. The defense did not present any witnesses. Johnson had prior convictions for two rapes, two armed robberies, and a burglary. He was on parole from Illinois at the time of the murder.

Following the execution, Gilcrist was fired from the State Lab and retests on the evidence in Johnson's case showed discrepancies.

Johnson v. State, 731 P.2d 993 (Okl.Cr. 1987), cert. denied, at 484 U.S. 878 (1987) (Direct Appeal).
Johnson v. State, 823 P.2d 370 (Okl.Cr. 1991) (PCR).
Johnson v. Gibson, 169 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 1999) (Habeas).

Last Words:
"I'm innocent, and I've got peace in my heart, and I'm ready to go home. I'm going to heaven on a midnight train. God bless my family"

Final / Special Meal:
Three fried chicken thighs, a dozen shrimp, tater tots with ketchup, two slices of pecan pie, strawberry ice cream, honey and biscuits, and a soda.

Internet Sources:

Oklahoma Department of Corrections


The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set a Jan. 6 execution date for a man convicted of killing a 76-year-old Oklahoma City woman in 1981. In November, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Malcolm Rent Johnson's latest appeal of his death sentence. After his appeal was rejected, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to set an execution date. Johnson, then 23, was convicted of the October 1981 death of Ura Alma Thompson. She was beaten, raped, then suffocated in her home. Edmondson said police found Mrs. Thompson's furs, a typewriter, watch, key rings, cigarette case, hand mirror, rings, a purse and other valuables at Johnson's apartment. Hair and semen from the crime scene matched samples taken from Johnson. Johnson had criminal history that included four separate rape convictions and three separate burglary convictions, a robbery conviction and a weapons violation. He was on parole from Illinois at the time of Ura's murder. "I appreciate the court's speedy response to our application," Edmondson said. "I see no obstacle to the carrying out of Johnson's execution on Jan. 6." In December, Johnson opted not to go before the state clemency board to try to have his sentence commuted.

Death Penalty Institute of Oklahoma

Malcolm Johnson - Executed January 6, 2000

Malcolm Rent Johnson, 41, was executed shortly after midnight on Thursday, January 6, 2000. He was pronounced dead at 12:13am. Johnson, an Oklahoma County death row inmate, was sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of Ura Alma Thompson, 76. Thompson was found dead in her home in Oklahoma City on October 27, 1981. She had been raped and suffocated. Johnson, who had been on parole from Illinois for two 1977 rape convictions, had moved to Oklahoma City earlier in 1981. Johnson was the 20th man executed by Oklahoma since it reinstated the death penalty in 1977. He was the third African-American to be executed by Oklahoma in a five-week period. He was also the 599th person to be executed in the US since its return to capital punishment in 1976. Prayer vigils and protests were held across the state on the evening of January 5.

APBNews Online

"Oklahoma Carries Out First U.S. Execution of Year." (January 6, 2000)

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- A man who raped and suffocated a 76-year-old woman in her Oklahoma City apartment in 1981 was executed by injection early today, becoming the first person put to death in the United States this year. Malcolm Rent Johnson, 41, was pronounced dead at 12:13 a.m. Johnson had been on death row for almost 18 years after being convicted of killing Ura Alma Thompson. Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy, who prosecuted Johnson, said Johnson was identified in several rapes or attempted rapes involving elderly women. He said Johnson would follow elderly women to their homes and brutalize them. Last month, Johnson opted not to go before the state clemency board to try to have his sentence commuted.

Shawnee Online

"Dead Man Talking; Trial Questions Nag." (Part 1 of 2 part series)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- At his trial for rape and murder, during 18 years on death row, on the night they strapped him to a gurney and executed him, Malcolm Rent Johnson told anyone who'd listen that he was innocent. Even the prison chaplain, who'd heard the last confessions of several condemned men, hadn't heard that statement.

State Attorney General Drew Edmondson says Johnson deserved to die. Even if police chemist Joyce Gilchrist did give false testimony against Johnson -- as former colleagues have suggested -- there was other "overwhelming" evidence which proved Johnson's guilt, Edmondson says. But a review by The Associated Press of Johnson's 1982 trial transcripts shows that "overwhelming" evidence -- including a statement made by Johnson and another made by a witness -- was inconclusive even then. The transcripts also paint a vivid picture of what transpired in the courtroom where 23-year-old Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death.

A federal grand jury convened this month to investigate Johnson's execution and nine others involving testimony by Gilchrist, who was recently fired. Whether Johnson was telling the truth is not the issue, said several legal experts who've reviewed his case. The real issue is whether he received a fair trial. Johnson was executed January 6, 2,000. "I'm going to heaven on a midnight train," he told those assembled to watch him die.

Malcolm Rent Johnson was in trouble most of his life. As an adolescent, he ran away from this father's home in Oklahoma City to be with his divorced mother in Illinois. In Chicago, at age 15, he was arrested for carrying a gun. At 19, he pleaded guilty to raping and robbing two women and was sentenced to state prison. Illinois parole officials allowed Johnson to move to Oklahoma City in 1981 to be near family. Five months later, police came to his apartment to arrest him on suspicion of violating his parole by carrying a handgun.

At the time, Oklahoma City Police Department chemist Joyce Gilchrist had been on the job 18 months. Already she was well-liked by prosecutors for her commanding courtroom presence and her forceful testimony about some of the most equivocal forensic evidence -- hair and fibers. A few years later, Gilchrist was attacked by colleagues for definitively matching hair samples, something forensic experts say is impossible without DNA testing, which wasn't readily available then. Still, she served 21 years in the police lab before Police Chief M.T. Berry fired her this September. Her mistaken testimony helped send two innocent men to prison and another guiltless man to death row. All have been released.

The FBI declined comment on its separate probe involving the federal grand jury. Gilchrist's attorney, Melvin Hall, Gilchrist's lawyer, said his client also declined comment. Attorney Doug Parr sued Oklahoma City earlier this year seeking independent analysis of forensic evidence used to convict Johnson. In August, The Associated Press obtained an internal police department memo that said some evidence used to prosecute Johnson did not exist.

The Spark

"The murder of Malcolm Rent Johnson: Aided and abetted by the state."

On January 6, 2000, Malcolm Rent Johnson was put to death for rape and murder by the state of Oklahoma. Mr. Johnson was convicted of these crimes in 1982, with the most damaging testimony coming from an Oklahoma City police lab chemist, Joyce Gilchrist. Gilchrist testified that six samples taken from the victim’s bedroom showed semen consistent with Johnson’s blood type.

A newspaper reporter has now obtained an internal police memorandum, written on July 31, 2000, which shows that the evidence used to convict Johnson was fraudulent. This memo was sent to the Oklahoma City attorney’s office by Laura Schile, another lab chemist on July 31. Ms. Schile’s re-examination of the microscope slides used by Gilchrist in the Johnson case indicated that “spermatozoa is not present.” Her analysis was confirmed by the other three chemists working in the lab. Sperm does not deteriorate for decades, so there is no chance it was on these slides earlier, when Gilchrist testified in court that it was. Gilchrist was clearly lying, and her lies cost Malcolm Rent Johnson his life.

This is not a question of one pathological liar ready to fabricate a story to get convictions – although Gilchrist certainly was that. Gilchrist’s lies had long been suspected as a result of questions by other medical technicians. As soon as Gilchrist came under suspicion, the Oklahoma City authorities, if they were concerned with justice, would have pulled all her cases, putting an absolute hold on all executions. Instead, police and prosecutors have been busy defending HER and claiming that her lies were innocent mistakes and/or that they didn’t cause any innocent person to lose their life.

As of today, 11 of 23 people condemned to death based primarily on her testimony have been executed.

No wonder authorities have not publicly released Schile’s memo exposing the role that Gilchrist’s lies played in sending Johnson to his death. Instead, they harassed Schile so much she finally resigned from HER job on August 2, citing a hostile work environment as the reason for her departure. Public officials in Oklahoma City are as guilty as Gilchrist of lying to convict and execute Malcolm Rent Johnson for crimes he almost surely did not commit.

Death Row 2000

"Oklahoma Beats Out Texas for First Execution of the Century." (January 7, 2000)

Few people stayed to watch history in the making when Oklahoma carried out the first execution of the 21st Century on January 6. Malcolm Rent Johnson, who terrorized a Midwest community for years before moving to Oklahoma City where he raped and murdered 76-year-old Ura Alma Thompson, took the last minutes of his life to apologize for the murder. Cynthia Ury and other family members of his victims waited nearly 20 years to hear Johnson say: "I apologize for everyone I hurt." When the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Johnson's appeal in November, the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals was quick to set the execution for Jan. 6. The higher court refused Johnson's last-minute appeals - and just before midnight - executioners strapped the shaky 42-year-old inmate to the state's death chamber gurney.

Johnson was sentenced to death for beating, raping and then suffocating to death Thompson in her home. After the October 1981 murder, police found the victim's furs, a typewriter, watch, cigarette case, rings, a purse and other valuables in Johnson's apartment. Hair and semen samples taken from the 23-year-old parolee from Illinois matched crime scene evidence. He had a criminal history that included four rapes, three burglaries and one robbery and weapons violation.

Johnson became the 20th person executed in Oklahoma since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977 and the 103rd executed inmate in the history of the state. In a last statement, Johnson said he was "going to heaven on a midnight train." Texas spokesperson Larry Fitzgerald said of Johnson's execution, "Well, we got the last one of the century, but Oklahoma beat us out today with the first one of the new millenium."

Truth in Justice - AP News

"Testimony Doubted in Execution Case," by Deborah Hastings. (August 29, 2001)

A man executed in Oklahoma last year was placed at the murder scene by the testimony of now-disgraced police chemist Joyce Gilchrist, but a police department memo obtained by The Associated Press says some of the scientific evidence she swore to does not exist.

The July 31 memo by a fellow lab scientist for the Oklahoma City Police Department refers to the case of Malcolm Rent Johnson, who was executed on Jan. 6, 2000, after being convicted in 1982 of rape and murder. Johnson, who had served time for two previous rapes, insisted he was innocent. At Johnson's trial, Gilchrist testified that six samples taken from the murder victim's bedroom showed semen consistent with his blood type. But a July 30 re-examination of those slides showed ``spermatozoa is not present,'' says the memo signed by chemist Laura Schile. Schile resigned Aug. 2 from the embattled forensics lab, citing a hostile work environment. She names the lab's three other scientists as agreeing that sperm is not present.

While the memo does not exonerate Johnson, it marks the first time legal questions have been raised about Gilchrist's testimony in an execution case. The memo also noted that Gilchrist's testimony had been criticized previously. Two appellate courts have ruled Gilchrist gave false testimony about semen evidence in the 1992 rape and murder trial of Alfred Brian Mitchell, whose death sentence was overturned earlier this month because of what one court called her ``untrue'' testimony. ``There are now two cases where the results stated in the (lab) report and testified to by Joyce Gilchrist contradict independent expert re-examination of the actual physical evidence,'' Schile wrote. Prosecutors said there was sufficient evidence separate from Gilchrist's testimony to convict Johnson. But Oklahoma County Chief Public Defender Robert Ravitz, who represented Johnson at trial, disagrees. ``It really calls into question whether the state of Oklahoma executed an innocent person,'' he said Tuesday.

Problems with Gilchrist's testimony in other cases have led to the release of three inmates who served long sentences, including one on death row. Based on a preliminary review, authorities previously said there was no taint in the 11 cases where prisoners were put to death. Gilchrist's attorney did not immediately return calls for comment. The chemist has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Ura Alma Thompson, 76, was found suffocated in her apartment on Oct. 27, 1981. There were no witnesses to the crime, and no fingerprints matching Johnson's were found. He was arrested after officers went to his home to question him about an unrelated parole violation and noticed items belonging to the victim. A search led to the discovery of her apartment key in his nightstand. He contended all the items were given to him by a third party. Gilchrist told jurors that semen stains on the woman's bedspread and pillow case matched Johnson's blood type, which constituted the bulk of evidence used to tie Johnson to rape. The only other evidence stained by semen consistent with his blood type was a knee-high stocking, Gilchrist testified. That stocking has not been retested. A vaginal swab contained sperm, but not enough to test, Gilchrist told jurors. Gilchrist also testified that hair fragments matched Johnson's hair and that fibers matched a blue cotton shirt he owned. Johnson's trial marked the first time she had testified about fiber analysis. DNA analysis was not available at that time, and the court denied the defense's request for funds to hire its own forensics expert. Johnson's attorney argued during trial that blue cotton shirts were so ubiquitious that the fiber could not definitively be linked to Johnson.

Schile refused comment Tuesday on the memo contradicting Gilchrist's testimony, which she addressed to Richard Smith of the Oklahoma City Municipal Counselor's Office. Kyla Marshall, one of the chemists named by Schile, confirmed that when the slides purported to contain sperm were retested, they revealed only a few fibers from the victim's bedspread and pillow case. Sperm does not deteriorate for decades, she said.

Richard Wintory, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said Tuesday that he still does not doubt Johnson's guilt. ``The evidence against Malcolm Rent Johnson is absolutely, uncontestably, overwhelming he done it, done it, done it,'' Wintory said. ``This suggestion that an innocent guy was executed is not true about Malcolm Rent Johnson.'' ``I am confident he is guilty of murder,'' Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said. ``He was convicted and sentenced to death and there is ample evidence supporting without consideration of forensic testimony.'' Gov. Frank Keating's office said he agreed the execution was appropriate. Oklahoma City Police Chief M.T. Berry declined comment except to say that his department was willing to have evidence from the Johnson case retested by an independent lab.

Gilchrist was suspended with pay earlier this year after the FBI, which reviewed eight of her cases, concluded she had misidentified evidence or made other serious mistakes in six of them. Hearings began last week to determine whether she should be fired. In the Mitchell case, a lower federal court ruled Gilchrist had knowingly given false testimony and that prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence from defense lawyers. That court still upheld the death penalty, but the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it Aug. 13, saying, ``We simply cannot be confident that the jury would have returned the same sentence had no rape and sodomy evidence been presented to it.''

Doug Parr, who serves on the board of the Oklahoma Defense Lawyers Association, filed suit last month against the Oklahoma City Police Department, claiming it is illegally refusing to release public records pertaining to Johnson's case. Schile re-examined the slides after a visit from Parr. On Tuesday, Parr filed court papers seeking Schile's memo. ``It is yet another example that Ms. Gilchrist is apparently willing to lie and present false evidence in order to support prosecutors' efforts to convict persons in serious felony cases in Oklahoma County,'' he said. ``The question right now is did he commit the crime, period?''

The state attorney general's office, which is reviewing cases in which Gilchrist's testimony was pivotal, briefly re-examined Johnson's case earlier this year. The attorney general said then that he was satisfied enough separate evidence existed to warrant the execution, including the victim's property being found in Johnson's home. In seeking the death penalty, prosecutors cited Johnson's two previous convictions for rape in Chicago and the ``heinous'' nature of the rape and murder, and said he posed a danger to the community.

Johnson's public defender said his client might have been spared the death penalty if he hadn't been convicted of rape. But attorney Garvin Isaacs, who has represented several defendants Gilchrist testified against, said any one of the aggravating circumstances in Johnson's case could have resulted in the sentence, regardless of the rape conviction. "It's Oklahoma,'' he said. According to a recent survey by Amnesty International, Oklahoma has more executions per capita than any state.

CCADP - Dallas Morning News

"Chemist's Errors Stir Fear: Did Oklahoma Execute Innocent?" by Arnold Hamilton & Diane Jennings.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- In a 21-year career, Oklahoma City police chemist Joyce Gilchrist was a prosecutor's dream: She delivered supportive lab analysis and convincing testimony that helped send hundreds to prison – at least 23 people to death row.

Ms. Gilchrist may turn out to be a prosecutor's worst nightmare: So much of her work was questioned by appeals courts and forensics experts that she was suspended and fired. Investigators are digging through 1,197 of her cases to see whether anyone is behind bars because of false or misleading testimony. And now – in a year when Oklahoma leads the nation in carrying out the death penalty, and with suspect convictions being reviewed even beyond the Gilchrist cases – some are pondering the unthinkable: Has Oklahoma executed the innocent? "I think there's a real concern that that has happened," said Jim Bednar, a former state and federal prosecutor and state judge who now heads the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System. "I think we've got to ensure that nobody else gets executed until we take a thorough look at this."

Ms. Gilchrist has denied wrongdoing. Her lawyer, Melvin Hall, describes her as a "scapegoat," noting she "had absolutely not a single piece of negative paper in her 21-year personnel file." Ms. Gilchrist declined to be interviewed. Defense attorneys and forensic scientists questioned Ms. Gilchrist's work – particularly hair and fiber analysis – as early as the mid-1980s. Earlier this year, an FBI review of eight cases revealed significant flaws in her analysis. Since then, state lawmakers provided $650,000 for DNA testing, and Gov. Frank Keating ordered the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to review all criminal cases involving Ms. Gilchrist.

Already, the state task force – including the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the attorney general and the indigent defense system – has targeted for independent DNA testing two death row cases involving Ms. Gilchrist's work. The state crime lab has completed an initial review of 817 files from Ms. Gilchrist's cases, turning up problems significant enough in about 16 percent of them – 130 – to warrant a more extensive review.


"Oklahoma City Police Chemist Faked the Crucial Evidence The Innocent Man They Put to Death," by Eric Rudder.

(September 14, 2001) - "I'M INNOCENT, and I've got peace in my heart, and I'm ready to go home." Those were among the last words uttered by Malcolm Rent Johnson before the state of Oklahoma took his life on January 6, 2000. A year and a half later, his innocence is nearly proven. But it will come too late.

Johnson is one of 12 people executed in Oklahoma who were convicted on the basis of testimony by Oklahoma City police chemist Joyce Gilchrist. Gilchrist was exposed earlier this year for mishandling evidence and lying under oath in thousands of criminal cases over a 25-year period. Johnson's case--and his near-certain innocence--came to light after state officials ordered a review of 1,700 convictions where Gilchrist's testimony played a part.

At Johnson's trial, Gilchrist testified that Johnson's blood type matched sperm collected from the apartment of Ura Thompson, a 76-year-old woman killed in 1981. But a reexamination last month of Gilchrist's "evidence" found that the slides she prepared contained no sperm at all!

The reexamination was conducted by Oklahoma City police DNA laboratory manager Laura Schile and endorsed by three other chemists. But after issuing the report, Schile resigned--following a confrontation with the lab's chief. "She was intimidated by the Oklahoma City Police Department and some of the lawyers involved in this case," said Schile's lawyer, Gavin Isaacs.

State officials are claiming that Johnson would have been convicted without Gilchrist's testimony. What garbage! The only other evidence against him was circumstantial. Oklahoma authorities aren't willing to admit that they executed an innocent man. "We have used for the last 25 years bad science in this state to convict people, and we have stretched the truth," said James Bednar, head of Oklahoma's Indigent Defense System and a former assistant state attorney general. "It's got to stop."

Gilchrist's willingness to lie in order to get convictions is only the tip of the iceberg in the U.S. criminal injustice system. In West Virginia, forensic "specialist" Fred Zain is facing five felony fraud charges for false testimony. In Idaho, Charles Fain walked off death row last month after DNA tests proved that the forensic evidence used against him 17 years ago was faulty.

And in Illinois--in a case remarkably similar to Gilchrist's--officials are reopening at least nine cases in which police forensic scientist Pamela Fish gave either false or misleading testimony. The most stunning revelation so far is that Fish withheld evidence in a 1986 murder trial of four Black teenagers--who may now be released. Every example of overzealous prosecutors and lying police scientists helps to make our case against the death penalty--and the rest of the rotten injustice system.

Patrick Crusade - Los Angeles Times

"Evidence Questioned in Execution: Police Memos Contradict Chemist's Forensic Testimony at a 1982 Oklahoma City Murder Trial," by Henry Weinstein. (August 30, 2001)

The investigation of a controversial Oklahoma City police chemist has produced evidence raising questions about whether she testified falsely in the 1982 rape and murder trial of a man who was executed last year, protesting his innocence to the end.

On Wednesday, Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Drew Edmondson released two memos written last month by four Oklahoma City Police Department forensic scientists saying tests they had conducted of material found at the murder scene contradicted testimony given by Joyce Gilchrist. Edmondson stressed in an interview that he remained convinced that Malcolm Rent Johnson was guilty of the rape and murder of Ura Alma Thompson because of the strength of other evidence. Edmondson, who released the memos after they were described in stories by the Daily Oklahoman and Associated Press, said it was possible that "we might reexamine the evidence down the road." Now, however, Edmondson said his office was focused on reviewing numerous cases in which Gilchrist testified and the defendant received a long prison term or a death sentence not yet carried out.

The Oklahoma City Police Department placed Gilchrist on paid administrative leave in March after the FBI reported that Gilchrist made significant errors in five of eight cases the bureau reviewed. That report led to the release of Jeffrey Pierce, who had served 15 years of a 65-year sentence for rape--a case in which Gilchrist offered key testimony about hair found at the crime scene.

Earlier this month, an appeals court in Denver reversed the rape and murder conviction of Alfred Brian Mitchell, and ordered him retried. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that jurors might have relied on Gilchrist's testimony that falsely implicated him for raping a woman before killing her. The judges said that during Mitchell's appeal, his attorneys obtained Gilchrist's handwritten notes, which "completely undermined [her] testimony." On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City police said there are five separate probes of Gilchrist's work taking place, including an internal investigation by the department. Gilchrist has denied any wrongdoing. On Wednesday, her attorney, Melvin Hall, said neither he nor his client had any comment on the forensic scientists' memos.

The latest controversy involves the 1982 trial of Johnson, who was convicted of raping and murdering Thompson, 76, who was found suffocated in her apartment on Oct. 27, 1981. There was no eyewitness, but the building manager said he had seen Johnson nearby. Johnson, then 23, was arrested when local police officers found items belonging to Thompson at Johnson's apartment when they went to see him about an alleged parole violation. Johnson had two prior rape convictions. Among the items found were Thompson's apartment key, a watch and a ring. Johnson said his brother gave him the items--a contention the brother denied.

At the trial nearly 20 years ago, Gilchrist testified that six samples taken from a bedspread and a pillow in the victim's apartment were the same blood type as Johnson's. Gilchrist also testified that semen found on a stocking was consistent with Johnson's blood type. She said that although sperm was found on a vaginal swab taken from the victim, there was not enough to test. Additionally, Gilchrist said hair fragments found at the scene were similar to Johnson's hair.

In late July, four police chemists reviewed slides prepared by Gilchrist for the trial. Laura Schile, the lab's DNA manager, described the findings in a memo to Richard Smith of the Oklahoma Municipal Counselors office. "It should be noted that upon examination of these slides" the findings were contradictory "to those reported out and testified to by Joyce Gilchrist," Schile wrote. "Spermatozoa is not present on" three slides prepared with material that came from the bedspread or three slides prepared with material that came from the pillowcase, Schile added. A separate memo by three of Schile's colleagues presents the same conclusion. Schile recommended to Smith, who is advising the police department in its probe of Gilchrist, that the actual physical evidence should be reexamined in the Johnson case. "Solely relying upon the notes, testimony and reports that pertain to these questioned cases is not sufficient," Schile wrote, adding that the Johnson case marked the second instance in which Gilchrist's testimony contradicted physical evidence that had been independently reexamined.

Attorneys familiar with forensic techniques said that if Gilchrist properly prepared the slides, and they contained sperm at the time, it should still be present. Schile resigned from the police department on Aug. 2 amid reports that she was in conflict with department chieftains. She could not be reached on Wednesday. Schile's attorney, Gavin Isaacs, said: "She was intimidated by the Oklahoma City Police Department and some of the lawyers involved in this case. . . . She has cooperated with law enforcement investigators." The three other chemists remain on the job but could not be reached for comment.

In recent weeks, the Johnson case has taken an increasingly high profile in the Gilchrist probe. Oklahoma City defense lawyer Doug Parr, who is playing a key role in the investigation, said that after he and other attorneys reviewed 12 cases in which Gilchrist had done the prosecution forensic work and the defendant subsequently was executed, "we decided that Malcolm Johnson had one of the strongest claims of actual innocence." "He went to his death proclaiming innocence," Parr said. "His confession to the prison chaplain was that he had done a lot of bad things but not this." Parr acknowledged that there was strong circumstantial evidence supporting Johnson's guilt. But he also maintained there was no reason not to review all the evidence and subject the biological evidence to DNA testing.

Parr said he has been attempting to get Oklahoma City official to send that evidence to a highly regarded lab in Richmond, Calif. He said the Oklahoma City officials wanted to send the material to a lab he considered inferior. Jessica Cummins, the Oklahoma City police spokeswoman, said simply that the two sides disagreed on where the testing should be done. Parr also has filed a lawsuit seeking access to all records in the case. The city has opposed this request and has acknowledged that it had lost some of the records.

DNA testing was not available at the time of Johnson's trial. Oklahoma City public defender Robert Ravitz asked the trial judge for funds to hire his own forensic expert to examine the evidence, but the request was denied. At the time, Ravitz questioned Gilchrist's testimony that blue cotton fibers found at the crime scene matched a shirt Johnson owned. Ravitz said the type of shirt was so common that it could not be conclusively linked to Johnson. Years later, federal public defender Vicki Werneke of Oklahoma City, who represented Johnson in constitutional challenges to his conviction, attempted to secure DNA testing of the biological evidence. The state attorney general's office resisted, saying that under federal laws governing death penalty appeals, Johnson was ineligible for testing. Federal judges agreed, so no testing was done.

Johnson's appellate lawyers contended that prosecutors had improperly struck three potential jurors who were African American, as was Johnson. The victim was white.

On Wednesday, Edmondson said that he was not sure what to make of the memos by the police chemists. But he asserted that the case against Johnson had been very strong. "He could have been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt without any forensic testimony," Edmondson said.

Wikipedia: Oklahoma Executions

Executed Person Date of Execution Murder Victim Under Governor
1 Charles Troy Coleman 10 September 1990 John Seward Henry Bellmon
2 Robyn Leroy Parks 10 March 1992 Abdullah Ibrahim David Walters
3 Olan Randle Robinson 13 March 1992 Shiela Lovejoy and Robert Swinford David Walters
4 Thomas J. Grasso 20 March 1995 Hilda Johnson Frank Keating
5 Roger Dale Stafford 1 July 1995 Melvin Lorenz, Linda Lorenz, Richard Lorenz, Isaac Freeman, Louis Zacarias, Terri Horst, David Salsman, Anthony Tew and David Lindsey Frank Keating
6 Robert Allen Brecheen 11 August 1995 Marie Stubbs Frank Keating
7 Benjamin Brewer 26 April 1996 Karen Joyce Stapleton Frank Keating
8 Steven Keith Hatch 9 August 1996 Richard Douglas and Marilyn Douglas Frank Keating
9 Scott Dawn Carpenter 7 May 1997 A.J. Kelley Frank Keating
10 Michael Edward Long 20 February 1998 Sheryl Graber and Andrew Graber Frank Keating
11 Stephen Edward Wood 5 August 1998 Robert B. Brigden Frank Keating
12 Tuan Anh Nguyen 10 December 1998 Amanda White and Joseph White Frank Keating
13 John Wayne Duvall 17 December 1998 Karla Duvall Frank Keating
14 John Walter Castro 7 January 1999 Beulah Grace, Sissons Cox, and Rhonda Pappan Frank Keating
15 Sean Richard Sellers 4 February 1999 Paul Bellofatto, Vonda Bellofatto, and Robert Bower Frank Keating
16 Scotty Lee Moore 3 June 1999 Alex Fernandez Frank Keating
17 Norman Lee Newsted 8 July 1999 Larry Buckley Frank Keating
18 Cornel Cooks 2 December 1999 Jennie Elva Ridling Frank Keating
19 Bobby Lynn Ross 9 December 1999 Steven Mahan Frank Keating
20 Malcolm Rent Johnson 6 January 2000 Ura Alma Thompson Frank Keating
21 Gary Alan Walker 13 January 2000 Eddie O. Cash, Valerie Shaw-Hartzell, Jane Hilburn, Janet Jewell, Margaret Bell Lydick, and DeRonda Gay Roy Frank Keating
22 Michael Donald Roberts 10 February 2000 Lula Mae Brooks Frank Keating
23 Kelly Lamont Rogers 23 March 2000 Karen Marie Lauffenburger Frank Keating
24 Ronald Keith Boyd 27 April 2000 Richard Oldham Riggs Frank Keating
25 Charles Adrian Foster 25 May 2000 Claude Wiley Frank Keating
26 James Glenn Rodebeaux 1 June 2000 Nancy Rose Lee McKinney Frank Keating
27 Roger James Berget 8 June 2000 Rick Lee Patterson Frank Keating
28 William Clifford Bryson 15 June 2000 James Earl Plantz Frank Keating
29 Gregg Francis Braun 10 August 2000 Gwendolyn Sue Miller, Barbara Kchendorfer, Mary Rains, Pete Spurrier, and Geraldine Valdez Frank Keating
30 George Kent Wallace 10 August 2000 William Von Eric Domer and Mark Anthony McLaughlin Frank Keating
31 Eddie Leroy Trice 9 January 2001 Ernestine Jones Frank Keating
32 Wanda Jean Allen 11 January 2001 Gloria Jean Leathers Frank Keating
33 Floyd Allen Medlock 16 January 2001 Katherine Ann Busch Frank Keating
34 Dion Athansius Smallwood 18 January 2001 Lois Frederick Frank Keating
35 Mark Andrew Fowler 23 January 2001 John Barrier, Rick Cast, and Chumpon Chaowasin Frank Keating
36 Billy Ray Fox 25 January 2001 John Barrier, Rick Cast, and Chumpon Chaowasin Frank Keating
37 Loyd Winford Lafevers 30 January 2001 Addie Mae Hawley Frank Keating
38 Dorsie Leslie Jones, Jr. 1 February 2001 Stanley Eugene Buck, Sr. Frank Keating
39 Robert William Clayton 1 March 2001 Rhonda Kay Timmons Frank Keating
40 Ronald Dunaway Fluke 27 March 2001 Ginger Lou Fluke, Kathryn Lee Fluke, and Suzanna Michelle Fluke Frank Keating
41 Marilyn Kay Plantz 1 May 2001 James Earl Plantz Frank Keating
42 Terrance Anthony James 22 May 2001 Mark Allen Berry Frank Keating
43 Vincent Allen Johnson 29 May 2001 Shirley Mooneyham Frank Keating
44 Jerald Wayne Harjo 17 July 2001 Ruther Porter Frank Keating
45 Jack Dale Walker 28 August 2001 Shely Deann Ellison and Donald Gary Epperson Frank Keating
46 Alvie James Hale, Jr. 18 October 2001 William Jeffery Perry Frank Keating
47 Lois Nadean Smith 4 December 2001 Cindy Baillee Frank Keating
48 Sahib Lateef Al-Mosawi 6 December 2001 Inaam Al-Nashi and Mohamed Al-Nashi Frank Keating
49 David Wayne Woodruff 21 January 2002 Roger Joel Sarfaty and Lloyd Thompson Frank Keating
50 John Joseph Romano 29 January 2002 Roger Joel Sarfaty and Lloyd Thompson Frank Keating
51 Randall Eugene Cannon 23 July 2002 Addie Mae Hawley Frank Keating
52 Earl Alexander Frederick, Sr. 30 July 2002 Bradford Lee Beck Frank Keating
53 Jerry Lynn McCracken10 December 2002 Tyrrell Lee Boyd, Steve Smith, Timothy Sheets, and Carol Ann McDaniels Frank Keating
54 Jay Wesley Neill 12 December 2002 Kay Bruno, Jerri Bowles, Joyce Mullenix, and Ralph Zeller Frank Keating
55 Ernest Marvin Carter, Jr. 17 December 2002 Eugene Mankowski Frank Keating
56 Daniel Juan Revilla 16 January 2003 Mark Gomez Brad Henry
57 Bobby Joe Fields 13 February 2003 Louise J. Schem Brad Henry
58 Walanzo Deon Robinson 18 March 2003 Dennis Eugene Hill Brad Henry
59 John Michael Hooker 25 March 2003 Sylvia Stokes and Durcilla Morgan Brad Henry
60 Scott Allen Hain 3 April 2003 Michael William Houghton and Laura Lee Sanders Brad Henry
61 Don Wilson Hawkins, Jr. 8 April 2003 Linda Ann Thompson Brad Henry
62 Larry Kenneth Jackson 17 April 2003 Wendy Cade Brad Henry
63 Robert Wesley Knighton 27 May 2003 Richard Denney and Virginia Denney Brad Henry
64 Kenneth Chad Charm 5 June 2003 Brandy Crystian Hill Brad Henry
65 Lewis Eugene Gilbert II 1 July 2003 Roxanne Lynn Ruddell Brad Henry
66 Robert Don Duckett 8 July 2003 John E. Howard Brad Henry
67 Bryan Anthony Toles 22 July 2003 Juan Franceschi and Lonnie Franceschi Brad Henry
68 Jackie Lee Willingham 24 July 2003 Jayne Ellen Van Wey Brad Henry
69 Harold Loyd McElmurry III 29 July 2003 Rosa Vivien Pendley and Robert Pendley Brad Henry
70 Tyrone Peter Darks 13 January 2004 Sherry Goodlow Brad Henry
71 Norman Richard Cleary 17 February 2004 Wanda Neafus Brad Henry
72 David Jay Brown 9 March 2004 Eldon Lee McGuire Brad Henry
73 Hung Thanh Le 23 March 2004 Hai Hong Nguyen Brad Henry
74 Robert Leroy Bryan 8 June 2004 Mildred Inabell Bryan Brad Henry
75 Windel Ray Workman 26 August 2004 Amanda Hollman Brad Henry
76 Jimmie Ray Slaughter 15 March 2005 Melody Sue Wuertz and Jessica Rae Wuertz Brad Henry
77 George James Miller, Jr. 12 May 2005 Gary Kent Dodd Brad Henry
78 Michael Lannier Pennington 19 July 2005 Bradley Thomas Grooms Brad Henry
79 Kenneth Eugene Turrentine 11 August 2005 Avon Stevenson, Anita Richardson, Tina Pennington, and Martise Richardson Brad Henry
80 Richard Alford Thornburg, Jr. 18 April 2006 Jim Poteet, Terry Shepard, Kevin Smith Brad Henry
81 John Albert Boltz 1 June 2006 Doug Kirby Brad Henry
82 Eric Allen Patton 29 August 2006 Charlene Kauer Brad Henry
83 James Patrick Malicoat 31 August 2006 Tessa Leadford Brad Henry
84 Corey Duane Hamilton 9 January 2007 Joseph Gooch, Theodore Kindley, Senaida Lara, and Steven Williams Brad Henry
85 Jimmy Dale Bland 26 June 2007 Doyle Windle Rains Brad Henry
86 Frank Duane Welch 21 August 2007 Jo Talley Cooper and Debra Anne Stevens Brad Henry
87 Terry Lyn Short 17 June 2008 Ken Yamamoto Brad Henry
88 Jessie Cummings 25 September 2008 Melissa Moody Brad Henry
89 Darwin Brown 22 January 2009 Richard Yost Brad Henry
90 Donald Gilson 14 May 2009 Shane Coffman Brad Henry
91 Michael DeLozier 9 July 2009 Orville Lewis Bullard and Paul Steven Morgan Brad Henry
92 Julius Ricardo Young 14 January 2010 Joyland Morgan and Kewan Morgan Brad Henry

Johnson v. State, 731 P.2d 993 (Okl.Cr. 1987), cert. denied, at 484 U.S. 878 (1987) (Direct Appeal).

On appeal from his sentence of death for the murder of a seventy-six-year-old woman, Malcolm Rent Johnson presents seventeen (17) assignments of error. The victim, Ura Thompson, was found dead and partially decomposed in her apartment on October 27, 1981. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was suffocation, and that the victim suffered blows to the head and jaw, as well as forced intercourse.

Jewelry, furs and other valuables were discovered missing from the victim's apartment. The police were given consent to search the apartment where appellant lived with his girlfriend. The victim's typewriter, rings, watch, antique jar, keyrings, cigarette case, and hand mirror were among the items found in the apartment. The specimens of hair and body fluids obtained from appellant were found to match the unknowns discovered in the victim's apartment.

Johnson v. Gibson, 169 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 1999) (Habeas).

On the evening of October 27, 1981, Frank Thompson found his aunt, Ura Alma Thompson, *1244 an elderly white woman, deceased on the floor of her Oklahoma City apartment. Following an autopsy, the medical examiner found evidence of forcible sexual intercourse before death. He concluded that although Thompson was not strangled, she died of asphyxiation either because of pressure on her chest during the intercourse or because her assailant covered her mouth and nose.

On October 27, 1981, police arrested Johnson on an unrelated weapons charge at his apartment, where they seized several items later identified as belonging to Thompson. On October 28, 1981, the police obtained hair, saliva, and blood samples from Johnson. In interviews with police after his arrest, Johnson denied knowledge of the homicide, but when told that semen found in Thompson's body matched his own, he reportedly responded, "you couldn't have found my semen in her, I didn't come." Trial Tr. at 913.

At the first stage of trial, Joyce Gilchrist, a state forensic chemist, testified that semen found on the bed coverings in Thompson's apartment matched Johnson's blood type. She also testified that several strands of hair found at the scene of the crime were "consistent microscopically" with petitioner's hair. Trial Tr. at 1033, 1038-39. The defense did not present any witnesses. Petitioner was found guilty on March 22, 1982.

At the second stage of trial, the state introduced evidence about Johnson's prior Illinois convictions for raping two different women, two separate charges of armed robberies, and one burglary. Four women testified that petitioner had raped or attempted to rape them or attempted to rob them with a firearm. These latter offenses were unadjudicated at the time of trial. Sixteen of Johnson's relatives testified that he came from a broken and abusive home, and that at the age of two he spent two months, often under restraint, in the hospital for an undiagnosed debilitating illness. They also testified that Johnson, the oldest of four children, was responsible for his siblings' care and for other household duties. His girlfriend testified that he assumed a parental role with her five-year old son. Neither side offered psychiatric testimony.

The court submitted three aggravating circumstances for the jury's consideration: (1) prior conviction of a felony; (2) continuing threat to society; and (3) especially heinous, cruel, or atrocious killing. The jury rejected the third aggravator but found that the other two outweighed the evidence of mitigation. Petitioner was sentenced to death.