Jemaine Cannon to appear before Oklahoma parole board in death sentence case

A death row inmate convicted of beating and stabbing a young woman nearly three decades ago will seek clemency before the state Pardons and Parole Board on Wednesday.

Jemaine Cannon, now 51, faces execution for the 1995 murder of Sharonda White Clark, a 20-year-old mother of two, in her Tulsa apartment after escaping from a center Oklahoma Department of Corrections community work center in southwestern Oklahoma.

Prior to Clark’s death, Cannon had stayed with her at Normandy Apartments, 6246 E 36th St.

On February 5, 1995, authorities found Clark dead in the back bedroom of her apartment.

Authorities at the time said Clark died in a violent struggle. His injuries included three stab wounds to the neck. His carotid artery was severed and his jugular vein was severed.

Clark was reported missing after failing to pick up her children from a daycare.

More: There’s a rift between Oklahoma’s district attorneys and the new attorney general. It gets worse

Jermaine Cannon was serving a 15-year sentence at the labor center

Authorities said that on January 13, 1995, about three weeks before Clark was found dead, Cannon stole a van belonging to the Walters School System, where he cleaned and maintained school buses.

The truck was found in Tulsa, where Cannon once lived.

Cannon was serving a 15-year sentence for a 1990 attack on an 18-year-old woman who rejected his advances.

The woman, who knew little of Cannon, was beaten in the head with an iron, a toaster and a hammer, according to state Pardon and parole board records.

The victim was permanently disfigured and nearly killed, Tulsa County prosecutors reported.

More: Exclusive: Secrecy surrounds white supremacist gang investigation of burned bodies, meth and a growing list of missing people

Jemaine M. Cannon

Jemaine M. Cannon

They said Cannon had also been violent with former girlfriends or ex-girlfriends.

Cannon entered prison in December 1991 on a conviction for assault with intent to kill. The sentence resulted from a plea agreement.

After Clark’s body was discovered in Tulsa, authorities captured Cannon on February 7, 1995, in Flint, Michigan.

His case angered former Gov. Frank Keating, who at the time lambasted the state Department of Corrections classification system that allowed Cannon to serve his 15-year sentence for a violent crime in a setting community.

After entering the prison system, Cannon was assigned to a minimum security prison. Two years later, he was assigned to the Walters Community Work Center.

Corrections officials acknowledged that Cannon should have been at a higher security level, but said space at those facilities was already occupied.

Investigators said Cannon had stayed with Clark since his escape from Walters Labor Center.

More: Police investigate possible murder-suicide in Oklahoma City

Defense of Jemaine Cannon

During his 1996 jury trial in Tulsa County, Cannon’s mother testified that he called her after Clark was found dead and said Clark attacked him with a knife because she was tired of people leaving her.

The jury found Cannon guilty of first degree murder and recommended the death penalty.

In 1998, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Cannon’s conviction and death sentence.

In 2013, a federal judge upheld the death sentence.

In 2021, the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied another appeal by Cannon because the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision – a 2020 decision in which the United States Supreme Court found that the Muscogee (Creek) reservation does not had never been rescinded – was not retroactive and Cannon had not previously raised the issue of jurisdiction. issue.

Cannon claimed his defense team at trial was ineffective.

On Wednesday, Cannon’s case will be presented to the Pardons and Parole Board at the Health Care Authority Building, 4345 N Lincoln Blvd.

In a petition to the board, Cannon’s attorneys wrote that he first spoke to Clark in March 1994, when his sister briefly put Clark on the phone with him.

In July of that year, the two were introduced by Cannon’s mother at Cannon’s brother’s funeral. In Oklahoma, inmates of minimum-security facilities are eligible for escorted emergency leave. The petition indicates that Cannon also met Clark’s husband, but no further mention of the husband is made.

In January 1995, Cannon, now an escaped convict, arrived in Tulsa and contacted Clark by phone several times, according to the petition.

His mother arranged for Clark to “host Jemaine,” according to the petition.

Clark was not Cannon’s girlfriend, according to the petition.

That day, as the two were preparing the apartment to be sprayed for bugs, a neighbor stopped and asked Clark for money, which angered Clark, according to the petition.

Cannon’s attorneys say Clark also became angry when Cannon gathered his things to leave the apartment.

During a struggle, according to the petition, Cannon grabbed Clark by the wrists to keep her from punching him, but when he let go, she accidentally punched herself in the nose, which started bleeding.

According to the petition, Clark came to Cannon with a knife. During a struggle, the knife fell and they both tried to reach for it. Cannon picked up the knife and “swung it blindly”.

Clark continued to attack Cannon, who “only swung the knife a total of four times,” according to the petition.

Cannon dragged Clark to the bathroom to see a doctor, according to the petition, but saw that she was dead.

“Jemaine then changed clothes and left the apartment,” according to the petition.

Cannon is due to be executed July 20 at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

If the board recommends clemency and Governor Kevin Stitt accepts, Cannon’s death sentence will be changed to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma death row inmate Jermaine Cannon seeks clemency in 1995 case

Leave a Comment