An Oklahoma man who had been released from prison in 2021 as part of a mass commutation effort was sentenced to life in prison for subsequently killing his neighbor and cutting her heart out.
Lawrence Paul Anderson, 42, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of first-degree murder and a single count each of assault with a deadly weapon and felony maiming, according to The Associated Press. Anderson was sentenced to life in prison without parole as part of a plea deal.
The prosecutor dropped plans for the death penalty following a request from the victim’s family, the AP reported. After the sentencing, the prosecutor, Jason Hicks, said in a news conference that the victim’s family did not wish to endure the pain of a trial.
On Feb. 9, 2021, Anderson stabbed Andrea Lynn Blankenship, 41, to death and cut her heart out. He took her heart to his uncle and aunt, Leon Pye and Delsie Pye.
When the officers forced their way inside, they found Leon Pye and his granddaughter dead. Delsie Pye, who was also stabbed, was rushed to a hospital for treatment.
The only other person inside the home was Anderson, who Delsie Pye identified as the person who attacked her family, authorities said. Anderson allegedly confessed to killing Blankenship on Feb. 12, 2021, while in custody at a local hospital. Officers went to her home and found her body.
Search warrant affidavits obtained by the Oklahoman offer details of what Anderson told state agents.
According to Anderson’s alleged confession, he went to Blankenship’s home across the street from the Pye residence and broke in.
“Anderson stated that he entered the home by using his shoulder to break into the back door,” one affidavit states. “Anderson killed a white female in the home and removed her heart. Anderson then cooked the heart at the Pye home and tried to make Delsie and Leon Pye eat the heart before he attacked them.”
The second affidavit alleges that Anderson told agents he cooked it with potatoes “to feed to his family to release the demons,” the Oklahoman reported.
Anderson was released from prison a few weeks before the Feb. 2021 attacks. He was among more than 800 Oklahoma inmates whose application for commutation was considered in January 2020 as part of a state law that took effect in November 2019. The law changed guidelines for some drug and property crimes, making hundreds of inmates eligible for an accelerated commutation process, according to the AP.
A grand jury investigation found that Anderson was mistakenly placed on the communication docket in Aug. 2019. A month before, the commutation board rejected his request. In order to submit a request again, Anderson should have been required to wait three years. However, the board recommended his commutation after a second question and it was approved by Gov. Sitt, the AP reported.