Ronald Fluke

At first glance I am sure that this case seems rather unremarkable.  It was solved before anyone even knew there was a crime. And, on top of that the case was completely open and shut, ending with the execution of the murderer within three and a half years.  No, this was not a case from the 1950's or before when cases were settled in record time and executions were carried out within a few months at most.  This case began in 1997 and ended in 2001.  And yet, some how, deep down I have a small problem with it... imagine that.

On October 15, 1997 Ronald Fluke walked into a Tulsa Oklahoma police department to report a triple murder.  Well he was not just reporting the crime, he was also confessing to it.  Ronald would inform police officers that if they were to go to his home they would find the bodies of his wife, Ginger, and their two teenage daughters, Susanne, 13 and Kathryn, 11. 

One thing you have to say about Ronald, it seems like everything he ever said about this crime, or the case was the truth.  You surely do not see that often when it comes to those who murder.  Sure, some will tell the truth, or pieces of it.  Others confess to things they did not do because they want the credit or recognition.  None of these things were true it seems when it came to Ronald. Some could say that he was so riddled with guilt while others, including his attorneys would say he was not mentally stable.  I have to agree with both.

Sometime in the early morning of October 15th Ronald had attacked Ginger with an ax, striking her several times in the head while she lay sleeping on the couch.  She began to scream and there seemed to be nothing he could do to stop her until he took his gun and shot her in the head.  He had then proceeded to shoot each of his daughters once in the head also.  He would tell authorities that he then tried to, or intended to kill himself, but for whatever reason had not been able to do so, hence his trip to the police station and his confession. It was said that when he went to the police station he still had blood on him from the crime but it was not specific as to how much.  I find this a bit interesting and believe that whatever the amount of blood he had could have determined a level or remorse.  That may sound odd, but in my opinion if he had a lot of blood on him that means that the time between the murders and his confession was not spent trying to cover his tracks as much as being in remorse.

He would tell the officers nearly immediately that he wanted and deserved to die.  He would say that he was in financial ruins and depressed and his reason for committing the crime was to save his family the  embarrassment that was sure to come.  Ronald worked as a self employed safety consultant.  He had not paid taxes in three years, he had borrows lots of money from friends and family, he could not pay his bills, his vehicle was about to be repossessed and on top of all of this he said he had a gambling problem.  Family members would agree that he had borrowed lots of money but while it does not seem clear as to what they believe the motive for the murders were they do not feel his depression was the sole reason, or that his depression was that bad.

While he did confess it seems that his first plea in the courts was not guilty as a trial was to be conducted.  In fact, it started with the jury selection but it was then stopped whereas Ronald did plead guilty and asked the court for the death penalty.  This was against his lawyers advice.  They argued with the court that Ronald was not mentally competent enough to plead guilty and not fight against the death penalty.  It was denied.

Ronald got what he wished for and he was sentenced to death.  As with all death penalty cases there is an automatic appeal that is required.  After that appeals are the choice of the defendant.  Ronald decided to waive all of his subsequent appeals. He seemed to settle in and take his punishment and jail time in stride.  He would say later that looking back at the situation, his financial state was not as dire or as threatening as he had perceived at the time.  He never wavered on the fact that he deserved to die for his actions.  On March 27, 2001 Ronald Fluke was put to death by lethal injection for his actions.

I give Ronald credit for taking responsibility for his actions.  He could have done what John List did. He could have killed his family and disappeared, starting a new life.  He could have been caught many years later and still made excuses as List did.  But, coming from experience dealing with those with mental illnesses I also have to agree with his attorneys that he may have not been mentally stable enough to make the decisions that he was allowed to.  I mean obviously there has to be some sort of mental instability in all murderers to do what they do but unlike most Ronald took responsibility for his actions which is a rarity.  In the process of that he never drug things out neither for him, nor the family and friends of his victims.  I found it interesting that it said Ronald was the 5th person in Oklahoma to waive all his appeals for execution.  That is just in Oklahoma alone which surprised me.  Then again I am unsure if those statistic began with the death penalty or just the reinstatement in the 1970's.  

Obviously the family of his victims did not and will not forgive him for his actions.  He took loved ones away from them, and he prevented his children from living long, happy lives.  Some attended his execution while still other were outside.  They felt they needed to represent Ginger, Kathryn and Susanne.  


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