Women on Death Row: Marilyn Kay Plantz

Pop Culture Crime
3 min readJun 22, 2020
Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash

Marilyn Kay Plantz was executed on May 1, 2002.

As of 2014, the state of Oklahoma has executed 192 men and 3 women since 1915. The first lethal injection in Oklahoma took place in 1990.


The murder took place on August 26, 1988.

Marilyn’s husband James, 33, was returning home from his job at the Daily Oklahoman when he was attacked. At the time of the attack, Marilyn was in her bedroom. Her children were also apparently in bed.

What he didn’t know was that Marilyn had hired her boyfriend, a teenager named Clifford Bryson, and his friend, William McKimble, to kill her husband. She hoped that her husband’s death would net over $300,000 in life insurance.

The two teens had been hanging out in her living room, drinking and using drugs. They fell asleep at one point and waited for James to return home from his night shift job. Keys jingled, and they woke up with a mission.

After the teenagers used baseball bats to beat Jim, Marilyn told them to take Jim’s body in his truck and make it look like he’d been in an accident. They dropped him off at the 6500 block of Northeast 50th Street and set his truck on fire.

Evidence suggests Jim was alive when the fire started that Friday night.


By Monday, Marilyn was under arrest.

An investigation followed. According to Bryson, he participated in the murder because he had seen Marilyn with black eyes, and it angered him. He also claimed to love Marilyn. She had apparently told her teenage boyfriend that she had threatened Jim with divorce. The apparent Sunday school teacher claimed her husband threatened suicide if she left him, but not until he’d killed her first.

At first, Jim’s family thought Marilyn could be innocent. In fact, Jim’s sister said that they tried to hire an attorney for her. Then, the detectives revealed the information they’d found.

Marilyn had apparently promised Bryson that they would collect the life insurance, leave the state, and get married.

McKimble pleaded guilty in court, and he received a life sentence for his role. He was then used to testify…

Pop Culture Crime

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