Robert Van Hook Becomes Third Ohioan Executed In The Past Year
Ohio has put to death a killer sentenced to die for stabbing and strangling a man he met in a bar in 1985.
The execution of Robert Van Hook by lethal injection was carried out Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. The time of death was 10:44 a.m.
The 58-year-old Van Hook was sentenced to die for killing David Self in Cincinnati. Prosecutors say Van Hook made a practice of luring gay men to apartments to rob them.
Van Hook, weeping, told his victim's brother, sister and brother-in-law he was "very sorry for taking your brother away from you."
Defense attorneys argued unsuccessfully that Van Hook should be spared because of childhood sexual, physical and mental abuse he suffered.
Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says Van Hook had spent much of last night lying on his bed and singing and later listening to music.
Smith says Van Hook slept only briefly and awoke shortly before 5 a.m. Wednesday. Van Hook showered, asked for leftover strawberry cheesecake from his last meal the night before and performed a Buddhist chant with a friend who was visiting. Smith says Van Hook also took communion the evening before.
Smith says Van Hook's mood was good and his visits with friends and attorneys were upbeat.
Van Hook's execution is the third carried out by the state of Ohio since last July, when Ronald Phillips became the first Ohioan executed in more than three years. The break followed a prolonged lethal injection, and a shortage of execution drugs.