Richard Thornburg – Revenge – Arson – Murder All Equals Lethal Injection


Richard ThornburgBetween 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. on September 28, 1996, Richard Thornburg, along with Glenn Anderson and Roger Embrey, went to Marvin Matheson’s trailer. All three were armed. As they hovered over Matheson, Richard Thornburg accused him of being responsible for shooting Thornburg the month before.

Also suspecting Jim Poteet of a role in the shooting, they drove Matheson to Poteet’s house, telling him on the way not to worry about locking his trailer, because he was not coming back.

When the four men arrived at Poteet’s house, Richard Thornburg and Embrey went inside while Matheson and Anderson remained in the car. After hearing gun shots from the house, Anderson took Matheson inside.

As Matheson entered he saw Terry Shepard sitting on a chair outside the bathroom door and Poteet sitting on the bed in the back bedroom. Poteet, held at gunpoint by Richard Thornburg, had been shot in the foot and his forehead was bruised and bloody. Matheson saw Thornburg shoot again at Poteet’s feet as he attempted to get Poteet to tell him who had shot him.

Richard Thornburg

Anderson then instructed Richard Thornburg to take Matheson to Poteet’s rental unit near the house and get Jimmy Scott. Thornburg escorted Matheson to the rental unit with a gun to his back, but he was interrupted when Kevin Smith arrived at Scott’s house to retrieve his girlfriend’s purse.

Richard Thornburg instructed Smith to knock on Scott’s door. The door was answered by Donnie Scott, the brother of Jimmy, who was not home. Thornburg forced Scott, Smith, and Matheson to go to Poteet’s house.

Once they were inside Poteet’s house, Anderson held the men at gunpoint in the kitchen while Richard Thornburg went to the back bedroom. Matheson could hear Thornburg and Poteet arguing about drugs and money. Then Anderson instructed Embrey to bring everyone back to the bedroom.

The men injected Matheson and Poteet with drugs, as Anderson commented that he intended to “OD” them. Anderson and Thornburg also injected themselves. Richard Thornburg continued arguing with Poteet about whether Poteet shot him.

He told Poteet that he was going to shoot him, but then said “better yet, I ain’t gonna shoot you,” and instructed Matheson to shoot Poteet. Embrey and Anderson pointed their guns at Matheson, threatening to shoot him if he did not shoot Poteet. When Matheson refused to shoot Poteet, Richard Thornburg shot Poteet in the side.

Richard Thornburg

Thornburg then told Matheson that Matheson was “going to shoot somebody and that it had a lot to do with if [Matheson left] the house or not.” Matheson was told to shoot one of the men in the bathroom. He attempted to shoot Scott in the head, but the gun did not have a bullet.

Anderson took the gun into the hallway, presumably to put a bullet in it, and returned, insisting that Matheson shoot Scott or he would kill Matheson. Matheson shot Scott in the chest.

Embrey then gave his gun to Anderson, telling him that he did not want to be involved in shooting anyone, and escorted Matheson back to the car. Matheson heard three or four more shots coming from the house. As Matheson was sitting in the car, Embrey opened the trunk and Matheson could smell gas as if Embrey was siphoning gasoline.

The men removed a sack of “Longneck Budweiser” bottles from the back seat. Then Matheson heard someone throw something through a window and saw that Poteet’s bedroom window was broken. After setting the house on fire, the men drove away.

Richard Thornburg dropped Anderson and Embrey off by the side of the road so that they could stash their guns. After driving further, Thornburg told Matheson to get out of the car, hide for a bit, and keep his mouth shut or the others would blame him for killing everyone. Scott, still alive in the burning house, attempted to help Poteet crawl out but was unsuccessful. He made it out himself and lay down in the grass.

Richard Thornburg

A man and his son drove past the burning house shortly after 5 a.m. and saw Scott. They took him to a convenience store and called the police. Scott survived, but Smith, Poteet, and Shepard perished in the fire.

When Matheson heard that officers wanted to arrest him in connection with the murders, he turned himself in. He gave the above account of his activities to officers once he learned that his family was under police protection.

With a glance toward the family members of some of his victims, Richard Alford Thornburg, Jr., apologized for murdering three people shortly before he was executed at the Oklahoma State Penetentiary. “I just want to say I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused,” said Richard Thornburg, who was strapped to a gurney. “I’m truly ashamed of my actions. “I wish I could take it back.” Some of the victims’ family members witnessed the execution from behind one-way glass to a room overlooking the death chamber.

On April 18th, 2006, a lethal cocktail of drugs started to flow into Thornburg’s arm at 6:16 p.m., causing him to exhale deeply before his breath hitched one time. His eyes remained open as a doctor declared him dead at 6:20 p.m.

credit murderpedia / Sean Murphy

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