MULTIMEDIA: Interview with Michael Selsor-Served Longest Time Between Conviction and Execution

Al Jazeera recently released a video of an interview with former Oklahoma death-row inmate Michael Selsor (pictured). Selsor was the most recent person executed in the U.S. and probably the inmate who served the longest time between conviction and execution of anyone in U.S. history. He was first sentenced to death in 1976 for murder and was imprisoned over 36 years prior to his execution on May 1, 2012. Although his sentence was reduced to life when Oklahoma’s death penalty was overturned in 1976, he was re-sentenced to death for the same crime in 1998. The interview was conducted in 2010 and was the only interview Selsor granted. When asked about the difference between the death penalty and life without parole, Selsor said, “The only difference between death and life without parole is one you kill me now, the other one you kill me later. There’s not even a shred of hope. There’s no need to even try to muster up a seed of hope because you’re just gonna die of old age in here….With the death penalty sentence I’m entitled to more appeals - the government’s gonna pay for it. I don’t have to do it myself if I don’t have the money for a lawyer which I don’t have. Instead I’m relying on public defenders to do my appeals.” Selsor was also asked about how he was handling his inevitable execution: “I’m not gonna beg ‘em to spare my life. I’ll try to keep my head up with a little bit of dignity, and I’m gonna be buried out on Periwood Hill.” See the video of the interview.

(J. Rushing, “Interview with a death row inmate,” Al Jazeera English, May 10, 2012; Photo credit: Al Jazeera English). See Death Row and Executions. See Time on Death Row. Listen to DPIC’s podcast on Death Row.