Feb. 24, 2021 at 6:33 a.m. EST
When police broke into Andrea LynnBlankenship’s home in Chickasha, Okla., on Feb. 12, they found her body stabbed and her chest mutilated.
Earlier that day, the victim’s neighbor admitted to breaking into Blankenship’s home, cutting out her heart and taking it back to his uncle’s house, police said.
“He cooked the heart with potatoes to feed to his family to release the demons,” an agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said to a judge in a request for a search warrant, which was reviewed by the Oklahoman.
Lawrence Paul Anderson then allegedly killed his uncle and his uncle’s 4-year-old granddaughter in a gruesome case that has rocked the city of 16,400 about 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Anderson, 42, was charged Tuesday with three counts of first-degree murder and two felony charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and maiming, court records show.
Anderson was denied bond on Tuesday, and it isn’t clear whether he made a plea. Lawyers for Anderson didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment late Tuesday.
Police have not said whether they suspect a motive in the slayings.
Police first learned of the crimes on Feb. 9, when they received a 911 call from someone inside the home of Leon Pye, Anderson’s 67-year-old uncle, OSBI said in a news release. Anderson had been staying with his uncle and aunt, 64-year-old Delsie Pye, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) commuted his 20-year prison sentence. He was released on Jan. 18 after serving a little more than three years in prison, according to court records.
According to OSBI, the person who called the police quickly hung up, prompting the dispatcher to alert Chickasha police. Once they arrived at the home, police heard someone inside yelling for help and then found Leon Pye and his 4-year-old granddaughter, Kaeos Yates, who was visiting for the day, dead. His wife, Delsie, was maimed with stab wounds in both eyes, KFOR reported.
Delsie and Anderson, who was also injured, were transported to a hospital for treatment, OSBI said.
While in custody in the hospital on Feb. 12, Anderson admitted to killing Blankenship, 41, police said. Anderson said he had walked to her house and used his shoulder to slam into the back door to break it open. He then fatally stabbed her and “cut her heart out,” he later told OSBI agents. Then he walked to his aunt and uncle’s home, where he cooked it and tried to force them to eat it before attacking them, the Oklahoman reported.
After he recovered at the hospital, police transported Anderson on Feb. 15 to GradyCounty Jail. Anderson is scheduled to return to court on April 1.
Anderson has a lengthy criminal past, court records show. He first went to prison in 2006 and served two years for possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute and for attacking his girlfriend and pointing a gun at her. In 2012, he returned to prison with a 15-year sentence for another crack cocaine distribution charge, but was released early after less than six years. In 2017, he was sentenced to 20 years on drug charges and having a gun, which was in violation of his probation. That sentence was commuted by Stitt last June to nine years before he was again released early.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks (R) condemned the governor’s commutation and blasted the parole board for letting Anderson out. “I really think an offender such as this should have not ever been able to even apply for a commutation,” Hicks said.
A spokesman for Stitt did not immediately return a request for comment.
Hicks added the Oklahoma Department of Corrections warned in Anderson’s application that he was a “high risk to offend.”
Hicks also said he is considering capital punishment.
“The death penalty is absolutely on the table,” he said.
In an interview with KFOR, Haylee Blankenship, Andrea Blankenship’s 18-year-old daughter, remembered her mother as caring and “filled with so much love.”
Speaking for a family still in shock over the details of their loved one’s death, the younger Blankenship hopes the district attorney pursues the death penalty. “I hope that he spends the rest of his life thinking about it until he gets his life taken, just like he took those people’s lives,” she said.