1999- Death-Row Man Denied Clemency

by Victoria Jesswein published 2022/11/12 09:28:29 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:28:29-07:00

Title: Death-Row Man Denied Clemency

Source: Associated Press, 1/28/99

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Death-Row Man Denied Clemency

.c The Associated Press


McALESTER, Okla. (AP) -- An Oklahoma parole board has rejected clemency for a condemned man who killed his mother, stepfather and a grocery store clerk when he was 16 years old.

Sean Sellers, 29, pleaded with the board Wednesday, saying he was deluded by Satanism at the time of the murders.

``I'm begging you for mercy,'' he said. ``I can't imagine what I could say today to cause you to have mercy on me. The only thing I know to do is try to show my heart.''

The board unanimously rejected the application, and Sellers is scheduled to be executed Feb. 4 -- the first time anyone would die for crimes committed at the age of 16 since 1959, when Maryland executed Leonard M. Shockley.

Sellers was four months past his 16th birthday when he shot and killed store clerk Robert Bower, 32, on Sept. 8, 1985. Sellers had told a companion, ``I want to see what it feels like to kill somebody.''

On March 5, 1986, Sellers shot and killed his mother, Vonda Bellofatto, 32, and stepfather, Paul Bellofatto, 43, in their bedroom shortly after midnight.

Sellers, now a Christian involved in outreach ministries from his death row cell, once worshipped the occult. At his trial, the defense said Sellers was addicted to the game ``Dungeons & Dragons'' and it dictated his actions.

Steve Bellofatto, one of Sellers' uncles, said his nephew was old enough to appreciate what he was doing at the time of the killings.

``He was old enough to drive a car, a 4,000-pound death machine,'' he said. ``But he's not old enough to know shooting your mother in the face is wrong? Give me a break.''

AP-NY-01-28-99 0740EST

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. 

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