Okla. execution is first of 2011 in US

Members of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty hold a banner against executions outside the governor's mansion in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. Billy Don Alverson, 39, has been executed, Thursday, for the death of a Tulsa convenience store worker found brutally beaten with a baseball bat almost 16 years ago. (AP)

Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 9:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 9:34 p.m.

MCALESTER, Okla. — An Oklahoma death row inmate convicted in the 1995 killing of a convenience store worker has been executed, marking the first execution in the U.S. this year.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says 39-year-old Billy Don Alverson was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m. Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

The Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center says Alverson was the first person to be executed in the U.S. in 2011.

Alverson was among four men convicted in the February 1995 killing of 30-year-old Richard Yost, who was the night manager of a convenience store in Tulsa. His body was found bound and beaten on the blood-soaked floor of the store's cooler.

In his last statement, Alverson apologized to Yost's family and asked for forgiveness, then told his own family "I'm alright."

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