By Paloma Sifuentes and Leslie Acevedo
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK: The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty asked the public to join them in a demonstration in protest of the scheduled execution of death row prisoner Richard Fairchild, who has been on death row for 26 years for the 1993 killing of his girlfriend’s three-year-old son.
The “Don’t Kill for Me” demonstration in front of the Governor’s Mansion is protesting Fairchild’s scheduled execution Thursday at 10 a.m.
Participants will hold a silent vigil until a notice of stay of execution is received or the execution is followed through, concluding with a circle prayer. A notice of stay of execution would temporarily suspend the execution of a court judgment or other court order.
Fairchild’s lawyers filed a clemency petition for his death penalty, asking the Governor to grant a pardon or to reduce the sentence. Fairchild’s petition consisted of his abusive family history, growing up with substance abuse and alcohol in his home.
Fairchild has also shown evidence of brain damage due to repeated head trauma from his teenage years of boxing. Although the U.S. Supreme Court had deemed organic brain damage as crucial evidence in a death penalty case, Richard’s attorneys did not present this syndrome.
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board denied Fairchild clemency with a vote of 4-1, with Board member Larry Morris being the only vote to grant clemency.
Crucial evidence such as his organic brain damage “would provide [him] with treatment he needed for the last 30 years and help him live out the rest of his days peacefully in prison or in a mental institution,” said Fairchild’s supporters.
Reverend Don Heath, chair of OK-CADP stated, “A compassionate criminal-justice system would see Richie Fairchild for who he is: a brain-damaged 62-year-old man who has been a model prisoner.”
Fairchild, who his lawyers claim can “no longer tell the difference between reality and delusions” because of brain deterioration, would be the sixth person to be executed in Oklahoma in the last 12 months.