Oklahoma authorities said Lawrence Paul Anderson — after being released early from prison in January — killed a woman, cut out her heart, took it across the street to his aunt and uncle’s Chickasha home, cooked it with potatoes “to feed to his family to release the demons,” and then killed his uncle, badly injured his aunt, and killed their 4-year-old granddaughter, the Oklahoman reported.
What are the details?
Anderson, 42, faces three counts of first-degree murder, one count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and one count of maiming in the Feb. 9 attacks, the paper said.
He’s accused of killing his uncle, Leon Pye, 67, attacking his aunt, Delsie Pye, and killing their granddaughter, Kaeos Yates, and the Pyes’ neighbor, 41-year-old Andrea Lynn Blankenship, the Oklahoman reported. Anderson was arrested at the Pye residence after police responded to a 911 call, the paper said.
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents said Anderson confessed and said he killed the neighbor first and then cut out her heart before taking it to the Pye home to cook with potatoes “to feed to his family to release the demons,” an OSBI agent wrote in a request for a search of the home, the paper added.
Agents found a cooking pot containing residue and another cooking pot with food inside, the Oklahoman reported.
“Anderson … cooked the heart at the Pye home and tried to make Delsie and Leon Pye eat the heart before he attacked them,” another OSBI agent wrote in a search request of the neighbor’s home, the paper noted. Investigators said Anderson stabbed them, KFOR-TV reported, adding that Anderson’s aunt who survived was stabbed in the eye.
Blankenship’s cousin told the station she was a single mother of two who lived alone and worked from home.
The cousin added that her family is unaware of any relationship between Blankenship and Anderson, KFOR added.
What’s the background?
Anderson was sentenced to prison in 2006 for attacking and pointing a gun at his girlfriend, the station said, adding that he was back behind bars in 2012 for selling crack cocaine near an elementary school. Anderson was sentenced again in 2017 for having a gun and sneaking drugs into jail, KFOR said.
The suspect was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2017, the Oklahoman reported, adding that Gov. Kevin Stitt last year commuted the sentence to nine years at the recommendation of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Stitt’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
Anderson was released after serving just over three years and had been staying at an inn and visiting his aunt and uncle’s home, although he listed their home as his residence, the paper said.
“They were surprised to see him just show up, that he was out,” Oklahoma City attorney Robert Wagner said, according to the paper. “They had no prior knowledge that he was being released, and they had never consented to him listing their address as his home.”
‘When is enough enough?’
“When is enough enough?” Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks said at a news conference after filing charges, the Oklahoman noted.
“We have seen ‘criminal justice reform’ in the state of Oklahoma now for several years,” Hicks added, according to the paper. “We have put politics and releasing inmates in front of public safety. The goal that we have set in Oklahoma is to decrease the prison population with no thought for public safety. And that’s not fair to the people of the state of Oklahoma. And we have to come to terms with that.”
He also said reformers repeatedly talk about nonviolent offenders in prison, the Oklahoman noted.
“Go tell these families — the Blankenship and the Pye families — that Anderson was just a low-level nonviolent offender. Look at what … he’s accused of doing,” Hicks said, according to the paper.
He also revealed that the Pardon and Parole Board took up Anderson’s commutation application in January 2020 while also considering 600 others, the Oklahoman reported: “It’s too many. You don’t have the time to look through those things and give any meaningful consideration to them.”
‘I don’t want no bail’
Anderson wept Tuesday at his first court appearance, the paper reported: “Oh God,” he said. “Oh God.”
Grady County Special Judge Regina Lowe denied bail, the Oklahoman said.
Anderson declared, “I don’t want no bail, your honor. I don’t want no bail,” the paper said.
Defense attorney Al Hoch said he’ll request an evaluation to determine if Anderson is mentally competent to be prosecuted, the paper said, adding that Anderson told a judge when he pleaded guilty to the 2017 crimes that he took bipolar medications.