The defense team for a death row inmate convicted of murdering a Tulsa bank guard is seeking a stay of execution based on a judge’s recent order for a trial to determine the 60-year-old’s competency.
Wade Lay was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005 for the slaying of 36-year-old security officer Kenneth Anderson during an attempted bank robbery the previous year. His execution date, Jan. 6, was scheduled along with several other death row inmates earlier this fall when Oklahoma ended a hiatus on its challenged lethal injection protocol.
According to attorneys for Lay, a September 2021 report from a physician determined he lacks a rational understanding of the basis for his execution. A Pittsburg County judge ordered a competency trial based on the report of Dr. Richard DeMier, but a jury cannot be seated until after Lay’s scheduled execution, according to a statement from his defense team.
The attorneys filed late Wednesday for the stay of execution.
“It would violate the Eighth Amendment to execute Wade Lay because he believes he is being killed as part of a government plot to silence him,” his attorney Sarah Jernigan said in the statement. “Mr. Lay’s delusions are well-known and have been apparent to everyone who interacts with him for decades, so the State’s failure to initiate competency proceedings until now is inexplicable. That delay should not allow the State to proceed with an unconstitutional execution before a jury has heard all of the evidence establishing Mr. Lay’s incompetence.”
His son Christopher Lay, also convicted in Anderson’s murder, is serving life without parole for the crime.
In 2019, Christopher Lay said described his childhood as a cloistered life with just his father, “living his view and his vision, which was a perverse one.”
He said his father taught him “the country was broken.” Prosecutors at the time said the father and son were “operating outside of reality” and had a “self-proclaimed mission to (avenge) Waco.”
Investigators recovered anti-government literature from the Lays’ apartment about events at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas. Their trial revealed they had compiled a kill-list of people they thought responsible for the Branch Davidian deaths where a fire erupted in Waco after a 51-day standoff with law enforcement agents and federal officials.
Dr. DeMier in his report stated Lay is able to repeat information that Oklahoma will execute him on a murder conviction, but “when asked specifically why he was being punished by the legal system, he spoke tangentially about the Bible, the writings of Dostoevsky and Jefferson, and the appropriate societal goals of punishment.”
The Oklahoma attorney general’s office did not object to the stay request.