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Deadly Murder for Hire: Marilyn Plantz Story

When greed gets the best of you, you’ll do anything, even murder. Find out the plot that landed Marilyn Plantz on Oklahoma’s death row.Marilyn Plantz would end up hiring her teenage boyfriend at the time, Clifford Bryson along with his friend, William McKimble to murder her husband for nearly $300,000 in life insurance money.

The duo would enter her husband’s home, and when the husband would come home, he would be ambushed by McKimble and Bryson and then beaten badly with baseball bats while Marilyn and the children were fast asleep in their beds. 

Plants then got up to instruct the duo to “burn him” to make the situation look like a total accident. So, the pair would drive them to a rural location, then doused him with gasoline and set him on fire. 

McKimble would accept the plea deal and would receive life in return for his testimony. Bryson and Plantz would be tried together. Bryson was put to death back in 2000. 

Sentenced to Death

Marilyn Plantz was charged, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of her husband James Plantz that happened back in 1988. James Plantz was 33 at the time of his death. 

However, in June 2000, William Clifford Bryson was put to death by lethal injection for his role in the murder of James Plantz. Over a dozen relatives and even friends of James Plantz were present at the execution of Bryson. The people included his brother, his father, and two sisters. 

This all happened on August 26, 1988, when James Plantz came home from working the evening shift at the Oklahoman as the pressroom supervisor, Bryson along with his friend Clinton McKimble would ambush him and beat him down with baseball bats. These baseball bats were provided to the pair by Marilyn. 

McKimble accepted a plea deal. The main condition of this plea deal was he needed to testify against Bryson in the courtroom. McKimble would go on to state that they left Mr. Plantz on the floor all bloody and hurt, but his wife stated that she needed this to look more like an accident rather than a beating. This is when Marilyn Plantz told the boys that they needed to burn him. 

However, James Plantz was still alive when they loaded him up into the pickup truck and drove him out to a rural area. This is where they would ultimately douse James Plantz and his pickup truck with gasoline before setting fire to it. 

The evidence showed that Mr. Plantz was indeed alive at the time of the pair setting him on fire as there was smoke found in his lungs. 

Bryson would then tell the local authorities that him and Marilyn were planning on moving out of the state to get married. Bryson would further say that Marilyn would tell him how her husband always threatened to kill himself, if she were to get a divorce from him. However, Marilyn denied any involvement with her husband’s death. 

Marilyn Plantz was known as a Sunday school teacher and a homemaker who raised her two children in a quiet, safe, Midwest City neighborhood. 

However, during the crime that took place her two children were sound asleep in their bedroom. 

Call for a Moratorium

April 26 was the day that the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association would call for an immediate moratorium on ALL executions within the state of Oklahoma. They wanted this to start with the execution of Marilyn Plantz. 

There was a press conference that was held since the last 10 capital murder cases were all tied and worked on by Joyce Gilchrist, a chemist who had a questionable background now. 

However, Jack Dempsey, Attorney and spokesperson for the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers Association if only one juror would be convinced of the death penalty in the case of Marilyn Plantz due to the testimony that Joyce Gilchrist gave, then Marilyn should not be executed so quickly. 

There were many vigils being held over a dozen locations throughout the state of Oklahoma. And nearly two dozen people were present for the prayer vigil that was held right outside the gates of the penitentiary as the execution was taking place. 

Execution

Nearly 13 years after James Plantz was brutally beaten and set on fire in a murder for insurance money type of scheme, Marilyn Plantz, his wife would be executed by lethal injection for her role in the murder. 

Marilyn Plantz was executed on May 1, 2001, for her role in her husband’s murder. Plantz was officially pronounced dead at 9:11 pm just minutes after the prison officials started to administer the lethal cocktail of drugs into her arm. 

Her execution was held at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. 

She received the death penalty, after she organized to game plan to murder her husband and collect his $300,000 life insurance policy back in August of 1988. 

The duo would enter her husband’s home, and when the husband would come home, he would be ambushed by McKimble and Bryson and then beaten badly with baseball bats while Marilyn and the children were fast asleep in their beds. 

Plants then got up to instruct the duo to “burn him” to make the situation look like a total accident. So, the pair would drive them to a rural location, then doused him with gasoline and set him on fire. 

The duo would try to make this murder scene look as if it was a traffic accident. However, evidence still showed that Jim Plantz was indeed alive at the time they set him and his vehicle on fire. 

Marilyn Plantz was the 11th inmate, but second female inmate to be executed in 2001 in the state of Oklahoma.

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