Oklahoma executes James Coddington for 1997 murder, the first of 25 executions planned over the next two years


Coddington, who was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of Albert Hale amid his battle with a crack cocaine addiction, was executed after Republican administration Kevin Stitt rejected his pardon on Wednesday. Coddington’s attorneys and attorneys had hoped his life would be spared, pointing to his regret over Hale’s murder, his traumatic childhood, and rehabilitation while on death row in Oklahoma.

The time of death was 10:16 a.m. CT, Scott Crow, director of the Department of Corrections, told reporters.

“Today is not a good day, it is not a bad day, it is just another day for our family,” Mitchell Hale, the victim’s son, told reporters after attending the execution. “We can finally move on. It won’t cure anything, but it closes this chapter.”

Coddington’s execution was the first of more than two dozen state officials slated to carry out between now and December 2024, at the rate of about one man a month. Opponents have been critical of the plan: There are open questions about the innocence or mental fitness of some inmates for execution, their lawyers have said, and critics have pointed to the state’s recent history of failed lethal injections.
Those issues — dating back to the 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett, who squirmed and moaned on the gurney for 43 minutes before suffering a heart attack — had prompted officials to postpone executions during investigations and assessments of the death penalty in the state. Executions resumed last October, with inmate John Grant convulsing and vomiting on the stretcher, according to witnesses.

But there were “absolutely no problems” with Coddington’s execution, Crow said. “The execution went according to protocol today, without any problems.”

Coddington’s chest heaved during the execution, but it wasn’t “dramatic” or to the point where his body came off the stretcher, said Associated Press’s Sean Murphy, one of five media witnesses to the execution. The prisoner’s breathing seemed to be labored, he said, adding that the execution was “pretty good for the course” given the drugs used.

Coddington in his final words thanked his family, friends and lawyers, according to media witnesses, and also addressed Stitt, saying, “I don’t blame you, and I forgive you.”

Coddington expressed no remorse for Hale’s murder, Mitchell Hale said, saying the omission proved the inmate’s previous expressions of regret were not “real.”

“He never apologised, he never mentioned my father, never my family,” said the murdered man’s son. “So there was no real remorse.”

Coddington’s supporters had tried to save his life, including at a hearing this month before Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board, which voted 3-2 to recommend that Coddington be pardoned, and sent the decision to Stitt.

Coddington had asked for his sentence to be commuted to life in prison, where his attorneys – including the former director of the State Department of Corrections and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives – said he had finally overcome his addiction and can be a good influencer. have on other inmates.

“I don’t think it would be in the best interest of the state of Oklahoma to execute Mr. Coddington,” Justin Jones, the former prison warden, told Public Radio Tulsa this month.

State Attorney General John O’Connor and Hale’s family were not in favor of leniency. And while Hale’s son told the parole committee at the hearing that he had forgiven Coddington, “my forgiveness does not relieve him of the consequences of his actions,” Mitchell Hale said, according to CNN affiliate KOCO.

Stitt ultimately denied a pardon after reviewing both sides’ arguments, his office said in a statement Wednesday.

Coddington and his lawyers were “deeply discouraged,” attorney Emma Rolls said in a statement. “James is loved by many people,” Rolls told CNN, “and he has touched the hearts of many. He is a good man.”

24 more executions planned over the next 2 years

Amid lingering concerns about the innocence or mental fitness of inmates and previous failed lethal injections, Oklahoma is on track to continue its steady streak of executions, with more than half of the 43 inmates there being sentenced and sentenced to death for committing crimes. will be murdered.
The spree is akin to other recent series of executions by Arkansas and the US administration under the Trump administration, but largely out of step with America’s continued decline in the death penalty.
Oklahoma, with a history of failed lethal injections, prepares to execute a man every month
The next to be executed in Oklahoma would have been Richard Glossip, who claims to be innocent of the 1997 murder of his boss. He was due to be put to death on September 22, but Stitt issued a 60-day suspension last week. to allow an appeals court to consider a new hearing. It’s Glossip’s fourth stay or reprieve, according to his lawyers. His execution is now scheduled for December 8.

That means the execution of prisoner Benjamin Cole Sr. is imminent on October 20. Cole was sentenced to death for a murder in 2002, but his lawyers allege he does not have jurisdiction over execution for “serious mental illness and brain damage.”

Medical experts have diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia, court records say, and they’ve requested a competency hearing before his date of execution.

The families of the victims killed by those awaiting execution “have waited decades for justice,” the attorney general said in a statement when execution dates were set, calling the victims’ loved ones “courageous and inspiring”.

O’Connor also pointed to Oklahoma’s vote for the death penalty in 2016, adding, “I’m sure justice and security for all of us led to that vote.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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