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Monsters Among Us: Earl Van Denton and Paul Ruiz escaped from prison and went on a killing spree

remembering the victims

Victims
Opal James, 58
Marvin Richie
James Melvin Short, 40
Jimmy Cockrell, 38 [LA]
David Small (survived)

Find-A-Grave: Opal Lee James
Deputies Search For Escapees
Suspects believed heading for Mexico
Extradition Appealed
Murder suspects returned to Arkansas after ruling
Okla. Escapees Linked 3-State Murder Spree
Fugitive cons linked to trail of murder
Escapees face death trial
More jurors chosen for murder trial of two men
Two former Oklahoma inmates convicted in capital murder retrial
Execution Date Set For Men On June 3, 1980
New trial sought for 2
An Evening of Death: 3 Murderers Are Executed
The executions
Earl Van Denton and Paul Ruiz v Larry Norris AR DOC 1997 (writ of habeas corpus)
Murderpedia: Earl Von Denton
Murderpedia: Paul Ruiz

INMATE INFORMATION

(Oklahoma)
EARL V DENTON
ODOC# 82398
Birth Date: 12/13/1949
Appearance
White Male; 5 ft. 7 in. tall; 135 pounds; Brown hair; Brown eyes;
Sentence
CRF# County Offense Conviction Term Term Code Start End

70-3002 OKLA Larceny-Auto,Aircraft Or Other Motor Veh 04/13/1971 10Y 0M 0D Incarceration 04/20/1971 01/08/1997
70-3097 OKLA Murder First Degree 04/13/1971 LIFE Life 04/20/1971

Facility

Current Facility INACTIVE
Phone#
Reception Date 04/20/1971
Discharge Date 01/08/1997
Parole Hearing Date

INMATE INFORMATION

(Oklahoma)
PAUL RUIZ
ODOC# 93071
Birth Date: 10/20/1947
Hispanic Male; 5 ft. 9 in. tall; 137 pounds; Black hair; Brown eyes;

Sentence
CRF# County Offense Conviction Term Term Code Start End

76-60 CUST Robbery Or Attempted W/Dangerous Weapon 08/09/1976 LIFE Life 08/10/1976

Facility

Current Facility INACTIVE
Phone#
Reception Date 08/10/1976
Discharge Date 01/08/1997
Parole Hearing Date

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2 Responses

  1. Even back then, in 1997, Ruiz and Denton were able to stay alive 20 years after their murders. If ever 2 men deserved to be executed, they were the 2. They murdered 6 people and wounded 1 in just a few days. They obviously didn’t believe in leaving any witnesses.

  2. The posting was very informative. I am in terested more in jimmy cockrell and the events surounding his death. A lot of the newspapers i i have read only have one line and no details. This happened when i was fourteen years old and now am over fifty. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    Thankyou
    Dave cockrell

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