Clemency hearings scheduled for 6 death row inmates

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Jul. 11—The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board announced clemency hearing dates for six death row inmates scheduled for execution later this year.

The scheduling comes days after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set execution dates for the six death row inmates in the first of a five-phase schedule lasting through 2024.

The board set dates for death row inmates James Coddington, Richard Glossip, Benjamin Cole, Richard Fairchild, John Hanson, and Scott Eizember.

Oklahoma law requires clemency hearings for death row inmates to be scheduled 21 calendar days before the scheduled execution date.

The first clemency hearing will be held July 26 for Coddington, who is set to be executed on Aug. 25.

Coddington was convicted and sentenced to death in the March 1997 killing of Alan Hale. Prosecutors said Coddington killed Hale with a hammer after he refused to pay $50 for drugs.

Glossip, who is set to be executed on Sept. 22, will have his clemency hearing on Aug. 10.

His case received international attention and further scrutiny after the release of results of an independent review. The investigation came at the request of an ad hoc committee comprised of 34 Oklahoma state lawmakers, including 28 Republicans and led by State Rep. Kevin McDugle — who said he would fight to end the death penalty in Oklahoma if Glossip is executed.

Glossip was convicted twice of first-degree murder in a 1997 murder-for-hire plot. He was hours away from being executed in September 2015, when a stay was issued because prison officials had the incorrect drugs for the lethal injection.

The clemency hearing for Cole is set for Sept. 27, prior to his Oct. 20 execution date. Cole was sentenced to death in the 2002 killing of his 9-month-old daughter in Rogers County.

Fairchild, who is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 17, will have his clemency hearing Oct. 12. He is sentenced to death for the 1993 death of 3-year-old Adam Broomhall.

Hanson is scheduled for his clemency hearing on Nov. 9. before his execution date of Dec. 15. Records show Hanson was sentenced to death for the 1999 killings of Mary Agnes Bowles and Jerald Thurman.

The Pardon and Parole Board set Eizember's clemency hearing for Dec. 7. Eizember, who is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 12, 2023, was sentenced to death for killing elderly couple A.J. and Patsy Cantrell prior to leading law enforcement on a multiple-week manhunt.

Each inmate will have 20 minutes to plead their case to the board and the victims' families will received 20 minutes to speak.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will then each get 40 minutes to address the board with the option to reserve time for rebuttals.

Board members will then vote. If the board votes in favor of clemency, the decision will go to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who can then either accept or deny the decision made by the board.

Data from the Death Penalty Information Center shows that only four recommendations for commutations have been accepted by an Oklahoma governor since the death penalty was reinstated in 1990.

The most recent was Julius Jones in 2021 by Stitt. On Sept. 13, 2021 the Board voted to recommend Stitt commute Jones' sentence to life with the possibility of parole and on Nov. 1 the board recommended clemency for Jones.

Stitt accepted the commutation just four hours prior to Jones' execution and modified the recommendation by saying Jones can never again apply for "commutation, pardon, or parole for the remainder of his life."

Pardon and Parole hearings are held at the Kate Barnard Community Corrections Center, Ted R. Logan Meeting Center, located at 3300 N. Martin Luther King Ave. in Oklahoma City.

Meetings are also streamed live on Zoom with the meeting information available at www.ok.gov/ppb/.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com