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Oklahoma executes man convicted of killing horse trainer

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma executed by lethal injection on Tuesday a man convicted of stabbing and beating a horse trainer to death in a case of mistaken identity.

Johnny Dale Black, 48, was pronounced dead at 6:08 p.m. (0008 GMT) at a state prison in McAlester, Oklahoma, state Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massey said.

Black was convicted of first-degree murder and battery in the 1998 killing of Bill Pogue, 54, a horse trainer from Ringling, Oklahoma. Black had been looking for someone else, according to court documents.

Black was one of five men who went out hunting for a man who had threatened one of the five because he had been having an affair with the man's soon to be ex-wife, according to court documents.

The group was looking for the man's black sport-utility vehicle and instead encountered Pogue, who had gone to a convenience store with his son-in-law, Richard Lewis, to buy chewing tobacco and was driving home in a black SUV.

The group of five men stopped their compact car in front of the SUV and attacked Pogue and Lewis, beating them and stabbing them more than 10 times each, according to court documents.

Pogue died later from his wounds, while Lewis survived the attack, according to court documents.

The morning after the fight, Black fled to Texas, where he was later arrested and confessed to the crime, according to court documents. Black said he did not remember stabbing Lewis and said he was afraid for his brothers, who were part of the group in the fight, and did not intend to kill Pogue.

Massey said that Black's mother, his two attorneys and four members of the victim's family witnessed the execution.

"This isn't accomplishing anything. It's just another death, another family destroyed. I love everybody. I love you, you can count on that, Mama," Black said in a final statement, Massey said.

Black was also convicted of manslaughter in 1984 in the shooting death of Cecil Martin.

Black was the sixth person executed in Oklahoma and the 39th in the United States this year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, down from 43 executions in each of the past two years.

The number of executions in the United States has been on a decline overall since 1999, when 98 people were executed.

(Writing by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by David Bailey, Cynthia Osterman and Paul Simao)

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