Oklahoma’s inhumane and illogical execution spree

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Oklahoma executed Bigler Stouffer II on Thursday. He was 79, the second-oldest prisoner to be killed in the U.S. since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, and the oldest in Oklahoma history, according to The Oklahoman.

He was put to death by lethal injection for the fatal shooting of elementary school teacher Linda Reaves in 1985.

It was Oklahoma’s second execution this year. John Grant was killed on October 28 in a botched execution, which was the reason cited by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board when it recommended clemency for Stouffer. The board said it had concerns over the state’s lethal injection protocol after Grant suffered violent vomiting and convulsions soon after being injected with the first of three lethal drugs. However, Gov. Kevin Stitt denied clemency, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied Stouffer’s appeals about two hours before he was killed.

Stouffer is the second of seven men Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced the state plans to execute over five months. Since his announcement, John Grant was killed on October 28 in a botched execution; Julius Jones’ death sentence was commuted to life without parole; and on Friday, a judge ordered a competency trial for Wade Lay, making his January 6 execution unlikely.

That leaves three men with executions pending. The parole board voted 4-1 to deny clemency for both Donald Grant, scheduled for January 27, and Gilbert Postelle, who is set to die February 17, which begs the question of why board members aren’t expressing the same concern about execution protocols for these two men that led them to recommend clemency for Stouffer. James Coddington is the last, with his execution scheduled for March 10.

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