On this date, 26 February 1995, Richard Yost was murdered in Oklahoma. Let us not forget him. We are glad that double justice was served when two of the four killers had been already put to death.
|Richard Yost |
Darwin Demond Brown
Darwin Demond Brown's codefendant Michael Wilson, 19, was employed at the QuikTrip convenience store located on North Garnett Road in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Richard Yost also worked. Brown, 18, and three codefendants came into the store during the early morning hours of February 26 and waited for the most opportune time to accost Yost. The QuikTrip surveillance camera captured the events as they unfolded. The video of the events is quite telling. Yost was cleaning the windows on the coolers with all of the defendants surrounding him. As Yost was walking near a passage-way to the back room, all four defendants attacked him and dragged him to the back room. One of the defendants, Billy Alverson, came back out and picked up some items that were knocked from the shelves. He also kept watch for customers. A few moments later, Alverson and 16-year-old Richard Harjo walked out the front door of the store. While they were going out, Yost was yelling and screaming for help, possibly thinking that a customer had entered the store. Alverson and Harjo re-entered the store with Harjo carrying a black aluminum baseball bat. He carried the bat to where Yost had been taken. The surveillance camera picked up the sounds of the bat striking Yost. Circumstantial evidence showed that the baseball bat struck the handcuffs on Yost's wrists which Yost was holding above his head to ward off the blows. As the blows were being struck, Wilson walked from the back room, checked his hands, put on a QuikTrip jacket, got behind the counter and tried to move the safe. While Wilson was behind the counter, several customers came in. Wilson greeted them with a friendly greeting, sold them merchandise, then said "thank you, come again" or "have a nice day." All this time Wilson continued to try and pull the safe from underneath the counter. He took money from the cash drawer and pulled money out of the currency change machine. At some point after this, Wilson left the counter area and the video went blank as the video was taken from the recorder. Brown was never seen exiting the back room between the times Yost was dragged into the room until the video recorder was stopped. The defendants then loaded two safes into Wilson's car using a dolly from QuikTrip. Yost's body was discovered by customer Larry Wiseman at about 6:00 a.m. Yost was laying on the floor in a pool of blood, milk and beer. Yost's ankles were taped together with duct tape. One handcuff was found near Yost's body. The other cuff was missing from the scene. Detectives learned that Wilson was at the store between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Wilson failed to show up for work at the scheduled time of 3:00 p.m. on the same day. Officer Allen set up surveillance on Wilson's house, and shortly thereafter he spotted Wilson get into a gray vehicle. The vehicle was stopped. All four defendants were taken into custody. A large number of five dollar bills was recovered from Harjo at the site of the stop. Brown was a passenger in the vehicle occupied by all of the codefendants. At that time Brown was removed from the car, handcuffed and taken to the Tulsa Police Department where he made a statement. Later, at the police station, money was recovered from all of the defendants except Wilson. Officers searched Alverson's residence where they discovered the drop safe, the dolly, QuikTrip glass cleaner, money tubes and the store surveillance videotape. A search was conducted of Wilson's house but nothing of value was discovered. The next day Wilson's mother called Officer Makinson to come to her house. Once there, the detectives found several items of evidence on the front porch, including the baseball bat, a bloody QuikTrip jacket with Yost's name on it, Wilson's Nike jacket matching the one worn in the store video and the other cuff of the set of handcuffs. Billy Don Alverson was executed in January 2011.
Billy Don Alverson
Billy Don Alverson's co-defendant, Michael Wilson, worked at the QuikTrip convenience store on N. Garnett Road in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Wilson, Alverson, and two of their friends, Richard Harjo and Darwin Brown, went to the QuikTrip during the early morning hours of February 26, 1995. They chatted with Richard Yost, the night clerk, until the most opportune time arose for them to accost him and force him into the back cooler. They handcuffed him and tied his legs with duct tape. Alverson and Harjo went outside and returned with Harjo carrying a baseball bat. Yost was found beaten to death in a pool of blood, beer and milk. Part of a broken set of handcuffs was found near his right hip. The medical examiner found a pin from these handcuffs embedded in Yost's skull during the autopsy. Two safes containing over $30,000 were stolen, as well as all the money from the cash register and the store's surveillance videotape. All four defendants were arrested later that same day wearing new tennis shoes and carrying wads of cash. The stolen drop safe and the store surveillance videotape, as well as other damaging evidence, was found in a search of Alverson's home. The baseball bat, the victim's bloody QuikTrip jacket, the other cuff from the set of broken handcuffs, and Wilson's Nike jacket which matched the one he wore on the surveillance tape were taken from Wilson's home. Darwin Brown was executed for this crime in January 2009. UPDATE: Members of Yost's family and the president and CEO of Yost's former employer submitted letters to the board asking that it deny clemency. Angela Houser-Yost, the victim's widow, wrote that her husband's murder had a devastating impact on her and the couple's two sons, who were 8 and 2 when their father was killed. “Anxiety plays a major role in my life now,” Houser-Yost said. “I can also sense when the anniversary of Richard's death is without looking at a calendar. I start shutting down inside and avoid talking with family and friends.” Chester Cadieux III, president and CEO of QuickTrip Corporation, wrote that Yost's brutal murder had a “devastating effect” on the company's 5,000 employees, “who were all thinking, ‘it could have been me.’” Cadieux said more than 400 employees sought counseling. “These despicable criminals all agreed and planned to commit this crime for money,” Cadieux wrote. “They each bought new tennis shoes with the cash stolen from the register. . How sad that to Billy Don Alverson, a life is only worth a new pair of Nikes.”
QUOTE: “This is the final step to closing everything,” Yost’s widow, Angie Houser-Yost, said. “They have caused a lot of pain for a lot of people, not only for my family and his family but for the people who walked in and found Richard, their visions, what they will live with now.”
Angie Houser-Yost is the widow of Richard Yost who was murdered by Darwin Demond Brown on 26 February 1995. He was executed by lethal injection in the State of Oklahoma on 22 January 2009. Accomplice Darwin Desmond Brown was executed in January 2009. Accomplice Michael L. Wilson is appealing a death sentence. Accomplice Richard J. Harjo is serving a life sentence without parole.