Mental status cited in sentencing hearing
McALESTER -- Convicted killer Sammy Van Woudenberg is mentally incompetent
and shouldn't be executed at this time, according to his attorneys and the
state attorney general's office.
Expert witnesses for the state and for Van Woudenberg both concluded that he
shouldn't be executed because of his mental status, said Gerald Adams,
spokesman for the attorney general's office. Testimony on the issue was
heard Tuesday in Pittsburg County District Court.
District Judge Steven Taylor will make a final decision on the question at a
Adams said prosecutors sought an execution date for Van Woudenberg in
Van Woudenberg, 42, and Terrance James were convicted of strangling Mark
Berry, 25, in the Muskogee jail in 1983. At the time of the murder, Van
Woudenberg was being held on a federal kidnapping charge.