Factual backgroundThe relevant underlying facts of this case were outlined in detail by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) in addressing Selsor’s most recent direct appeal:
At approximately 11:00 p.m. on September 15, 1975, Selsor and Richard Eugene Dodson robbed the U-TOTE-M convenience store at 5950 33rd West Avenue in Tulsa. Selsor and Dodson entered the store, each armed with a .22 caliber handgun. Employee Clayton Chandler was working at the cash register. Selsor approached Chandler, pulled his gun, and demanded the contents of the register. Dodson located employee Ina Morris, who was restocking the walk-in cooler. Dodson pointed his gun at her and ordered her to get down. Morris replied, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Dodson then fired a shot striking Morris in the shoulder.
Chandler loaded a sack with money and handed it to Selsor, who then shot Chandler several times in the chest killing him. Upon hearing the shots, Dodson emptied his weapon through the cooler door at Morris. Morris was shot in the head, neck and shoulder, but survived. Selsor and Dodson then fled.
On September 22, 1975, Selsor and Dodson were arrested in Santa Barbara, California. Selsor confessed this and other crimes to Detective John Evans of the Santa Barbara Police Department. In his confession, Selsor admitted that before entering the store, he and Dodson had agreed to leave no witnesses.Selsor v. State (Selsor II), 2 P.3d 344, 347-48 (Okla. Crim. App. 2000) (internal paragraph numbers omitted).
Selsor’s original trial and direct appealFollowing his arrest, Selsor “was charged in the District Court, Tulsa County, with the offenses of Armed Robbery, CRF-75-2183; Shooting With Intent to Kill, CRF-75-2182; and, Murder in the First Degree, CRF-75-2181, After Former Conviction of a Felony.” Selsor v. State (Selsor I), 562 P.2d 926, 927 (Okla. Crim. App. 1977). The case proceeded to trial in January 1976, and Selsor “was tried conjointly with co-defendant . . . Dodson.” Id. “A guilty verdict was returned as to all three charges [against Selsor], punishment being assessed at death for Murder in the First Degree; twenty (20) years’ imprisonment for Shooting With Intent to Kill; and, twenty-five (25) years’ imprisonment for Armed Robbery.” Id.
Selsor filed a direct appeal challenging his convictions and sentences. On April 6, 1977, the OCCA issued a published decision affirming all of Selsor’s convictions, as well as the sentences imposed for the Shooting With Intent to Kill and Armed Robbery convictions. The OCCA, however, modified Selsor’s death sentence to life imprisonment. In doing so, the OCCA concluded, consistent with its then-recent decision in Riggs v. Branch, 554 P.2d 823 (Okla. Crim. App. 1976), that the Oklahoma death penalty statute under which Selsor was sentenced, Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 701.3 (1973), was unconstitutional. Selsor I, 562 P.2d at
Judge(s): Mary Briscoe
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Related Categories: Constitutional Law
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Petitioner Lawyer(s)||Petitioner Law Firm(s)|
|Madeline Cohen||Office of the Federal Public Defender|
|Raymond Moore||Office of the Federal Public Defender|
|Dean Sanderford||Office of the Federal Public Defender|
|Respondent Lawyer(s)||Respondent Law Firm(s)|
|Drew Edmondson||Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General|
|Robert Whittaker||Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General|