Oklahoma AG seeks to schedule 25 executions

June 10 (UPI) -- Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor on Friday asked the state's court of criminal appeals to schedule the execution dates of 25 death row prisoners.

O'Connor's request comes days after a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled that the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol isn't likely to create a risk of severe pain and suffering and is therefore constitutional.


According to court documents, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections asked that the first execution be scheduled for no earlier than Aug. 25 and the executions be held at least four weeks apart.

"By the state's calculations, ... it will be necessary to schedule some executions more than four weeks apart," O'Connor's court filings said. "However, the state respectfully asks that -- for the sake of the victims' families, many of whom have waited decades -- as many executions as possible are set four weeks apart."


The filings included a list of all 25 prisoners in the order in which the state seeks to execute them -- James Coddington, Richard Glossip, Benjamin Robert Cole, Richard Fairchild, John Fitzgerald Hanson, Scott James Eizember, Jemaine Cannon, Anthony Sanchez, Phillip Dean Hancock, James Ryder, Michael Dewayne Smith, Wade Greely Lay, Richard Rojem, Emmanuel Littlejohn, Kevin Underwood, Wendell Grissom, Tremane Wood, Kendrick Simpson, Raymond Johnson, Carlos Cuesta-Rodriguez, James Pavatt, Clarence Goode, Ronson Kyle Bush, Alfred Brian Mitchell and Marlon Harmon.

Oklahoma went nearly seven years without carrying out any executions after its lethal injection protocol came under scrutiny in 2014 when Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack amid complications during his execution.

Autopsy reports released a year later indicated Oklahoma corrections officials used the wrong drug -- potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride -- during the process. Lockett complained of a burning sensation and attempted to raise his head and speak after doctors declared he was unconscious.

The same incorrect drug was delivered to corrections officials for use in the planned 2015 execution of Glossip. Former Gov. Mary Fallin called off Glossip's execution with a last-minute, indefinite stay after she learned of the discrepancy.


Starting in 2015, the state had an unofficial moratorium on executions as it attempted to secure a supply of lethal injection drugs. Oklahoma uses a three-drug cocktail of midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

In 2020, Gov. Kevin Stitt said that after mulling the option of using nitrogen gas to carry out executions, the state has now found a "reliable supply of drugs" to resume lethal injections.

The state has carried out four executions since October 2021.

Glossip's attorney, Don Knight, called on O'Connor to delay his client's execution.

"Oklahoma should not execute an innocent man considering 29 Republican legislators, including staunch conservatives who commissioned an independent investigation into Richard Glossip's case, are still awaiting that report," he said in a statement Friday. "Those findings could reveal exculpatory information previously unknown until this point.

"No matter where people stand on the death penalty, no one should want to kill an innocent man. The stakes are too high to rush this process. A man's life is on the line."

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