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Oklahoma AG requests execution dates for seven state death-row inmates
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Oklahoma AG requests execution dates for seven state death-row inmates

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After years of the death penalty being postponed following the 2014 botched execution of Clayton Lockett, the 2015 execution of Charles Warner using the wrong drug, state Attorney General John O’Connor has requested execution dates for seven death-row inmates. Executions could resume as soon as October.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor has asked the Court of Criminal Appeals to set execution dates for seven death-row inmates, including Julius Jones.

The action comes after the state put the death penalty on hold following the 2014 botched execution of Clayton Lockett, the 2015 execution of Charles Warner using the wrong drug, a review of the lethal-injection protocol and litigation.

“These inmates’ appeals have lasted between 13 and 36 years in courts,” O’Connor said, adding that it is his job to enforce state law.

“Our thoughts remain with the families and loved ones of the victims of all death row inmates,” he said. “They have endured the lengthy appeals process while waiting decades for justice for horrific crimes their loved ones suffered. Further delay will only perpetuate that injustice.”

O’Connor asked that Jones’ execution date be set for Oct. 28.

Jones, who has waged a public relations campaign claiming innocence, is set for a Sept. 13 commutation hearing before the Pardon and Parole Board. However, with O’Connor seeking an execution date, that could change to a clemency hearing at a later date, said Tom Bates, Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board director.

The board has scheduled a meeting for next week to discuss the potential resumption of executions and the scheduling of clemency hearings.

Jones was convicted of the 1999 murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell.

O’Connor asked the court to set a Feb. 10 execution date for James Allen Coddington, who was sentenced to death for the 1997 killing of Albert Hale in Oklahoma County.

He also requested that a Dec. 30 execution date be set for Donald Anthony Grant, who was sentenced to death for the 2001 murders of Del City motel workers Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith.

An Oct. 7 date was requested for John Marion Grant, who was sentenced for the 1998 killing of Gay Carter, a prison kitchen worker at the Dick Connor Correctional Center in Hominy.

A Dec. 9 execution date was requested for Wade Greely Lay, sentenced to death for the 2004 killing of a Tulsa security guard, Kenny Anderson.

The court was also asked to set a Jan. 20 execution date for Gilbert Ray Postelle, who was convicted of killing four people in 2005 outside a trailer in Del City. He received the death penalty for two of the murders.

A execution date of Nov. 18 was requested for Bigler Jobe Stouffer, who was sentenced to death for the 1985 killing of Putnam City teacher Linda Reaves.

Earlier this month, 26 Oklahoma death-row inmates challenging the constitutionality of the state’s lethal-injection protocol won the right to take the case to trial. Those who didn’t state an alternative method were dropped from the case.

Richard Glossip was among those allowed to proceed. He was twice sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese, who owned the Oklahoma City hotel where Glossip worked as a resident manager.

Like Jones, Glossip and his supporters have waged a public relations campaign claiming his innocence.

Dale Baich, an Arizona assistant federal defender who represents Jones and worked on the Oklahoma lethal-injection case, said that given the checkered history and the unresolved questions about the constitutionality of the state’s execution protocol that are pending before the federal district court, Oklahoma should not move forward with any executions at this time.

“To allow executions to proceed when there is a chance the court could find a constitutionally unacceptable risk that a person could suffer because of the drug combination used is just plain wrong,” Baich said.

Featured video: Why Oklahoma executions are on hold

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