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What did Benjamin Cole do? Man executed over murder of 9-month-old daughter

(images via Oklahoma Department of Corrections/ Victims
Cole allegedly killed his daughter after he couldn't stop her from crying (images via Oklahoma Department of Corrections/ Victims' family)

On October 20, Oklahoma man Benjamin Cole was executed over the murder of his 9-month-old daughter Brianna Cole, whom he was accused of killing approximately 20 years ago. Fox reported that 57-year-old Benjamin Cole was pronounced dead at approximately 10.22 am, after being administered with three lethal execution drugs.

According to prosecutors, Benjamin Cole had supposedly killed his daughter for crying. He was accused of murdering the child by bending her backwards, which broke her spine.

The execution of Benjamin Cole has been carried out by the State of Oklahoma. Today, we remember the victim, Brianna Victoria Cole, her family and all who have been affected by this senseless tragedy. https://t.co/YtGCUFM10Z

CBS reported that while Cole's attorneys accepted that he was responsible for the murder of his daughter, he should have been exempt from the death penalty.


Benjamin Cole was reportedly suffering from mental health issues

The attorneys claimed that he was suffering from mental health issues, including paranoid schizophrenia and complications from a growing lesion in his brain.

CBS reported that during the clemency hearing, a panel voted that Cole was fit to undergo the death sentence, despite his attorney's claims that he was mentally ill.

Today, Brianna Cole would have been 20 years old. Her death at the hands of her own father, Benjamin Cole, was brutal, unjust and entirely senseless. Her life had barely begun and she was robbed of experiencing what the world had in store for her. Today, we remember her πŸ’œ https://t.co/lXrCF3vCAH

Relatives of Cole's daughter spoke out against the possibility of clemency. Donna Daniel and Bryan Young, who were aunt and uncle to Brianna Cole, complained that it took 20-years for the execution to be carried out.

Young said:

"Twenty years? Give me a break. We should not have to wait 20 years for a 9-month-old baby to get justice."

After the execution, Cole's attorney Tom Hird discussed the convicted murderer's final days on death row.

He said:

"As Ben's physical health deteriorated along with his mind, he became progressively more detached from reality, refusing to leave his cell, moving little and with difficulty, and rarely speaking to anyone."

Another one of Cole's attorneys, Katrina Conrad-Legler, echoed this sentiment.

She said:

"His condition has continued to decline over the course of this year."

Hird went on to explain that due to Benjamin Cole's health condition, he should not have undergone the death sentence.

He said:

"It is unconscionable that the state denied Ben a competency trial. Ben lacked a rational understanding of why Oklahoma took his life today."

He continued:

As Oklahoma proceeds with its relentless march to execute one mentally ill, traumatized man after another, we should pause to ask whether this is really who we are, and who we want to be."
Us murdering Benjamin Cole will not bring back Brianna. It will not make us safer. Murder for murder only indulges the worst instincts in us. No one will heal. Nothing will be made whole. Executions only more closely align our actions with the actions we claim to judge. https://t.co/31VBHmDkyQ

Fox reported that Cole was the sixth convict to be executed by the State of Oklahoma since October 2021, when the State began to carry out capital punishments after a hiatus.

In his final speech, Cole reportedly discussed his religious values.

He said:

"(I am) just a super-duper hyperbolic Jesus freak."
Oklahoma has executed Benjamin Cole. He was condemned to die for the murder of his 9-month-old daughter, Brianna Cole. This is the fourth execution in Oklahoma this year… and 23 more executions are lined up, just in Oklahoma.Killing is the problem, not the solution.

Prosecutors said that Benjamin Cole had a history of abusing his daughter. Prior to being convicted of his murder, he had served time in California for physically abusing her.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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