Scott Eizember Executed – Oklahoma Ignores Clemency Petition of Death Row Prisoner that Cites Significant Juvenile Trauma

Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

By Ivan Villegas, Kimberly Torres, and Kaylee Pearlman

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Death row prisoner Eizember was executed by the state of Oklahoma last Thursday, with the state ignoring his petition for clemency that argued he was no longer a threat in prison and that his crimes were impulsive, unplanned and desperate.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty issued a statement charging Eizember’s execution “only compounds the violence and tragedy of his life as well as the victims’.”

Eizember’s petition goes into length about his upbringing and personal background, to give context to his crimes.

The petition notes Eizember was born in Michigan and raised only by his father because his mother, Devonia, had committed suicide when Eizember was only nine months old. His father, Stanley, blamed him for her death and the child’s childhood was marked with repeated bouts of violence when his father would lash out and beat him.

Adding to the trauma, the petition explains, that Eizember experienced growing up was the death of his stepmother, Dorothy, who died of natural causes when Eizember was 15. Although Stanley continued to beat Eizember while he was with Dorothy, she had been a positive presence in Eizember’s life.

The petition continues: Eizember left his home at the age of 16. He was homeless for a time, but he soon found shelter and a job. His first marriage resulted in a divorce because of his alcoholism. His second marriage resulted in two children; however, after a claim of her infidelity his wife left him, taking the two children.

Eizember, the petition added, entered a third relationship with a woman named Kathy in Oklahoma, and, much like his first two, it ended in a separation between the two after he was charged with domestic disturbance and had a protective order placed against him. Eizember was placed in custody and while he was in there, Kathy took all of his savings.

The petition claims Kathy arranged for him to receive enough money to go back to Michigan, but because of the protective order, he could not meet her. In spite of this, Eizember attempted to meet her at home. Noticing she wasn’t home, he waited at a relative of Kathy’s nearby. Hungry and thirsty, Eizember entered the house seeing that no one was home.

Once the owners returned, Eizember said he was desperate and panicked, holding them at gunpoint with a gun he had found at the residence. In an attempt at self-defense, Eizember struggled to keep control of the weapon and in the struggle one of the owners was shot and killed, the petition read.

The petition explained Eizember fled, heard the police had orders to shoot him on sight, and, desperate, he continued to flee, stole a car and held the family driving hostage, but the police eventually caught him and placed him in custody, where he had been up until his execution.

The clemency petition also noted that, during his time in prison, Eizember was conflict free. His prison records indicate that he had the best security rating of any other prisoner on Oklahoma’s death row. During his 20 years in prison, Eizember obtained a G.E.D. and received promotions and more manageable positions in numerous companies.

Over the past two decades, Eizember spent his time in prison living, as he referred to it, “the life of the mind.” He spent his free time studying various different languages and higher mathematics. Many of the lawyers who are familiar with Oklahoma’s death row said Eizember was the only inmate who had requested aid in securing books in topics such as physics and mathematics.

Defense lawyers said Eizember said if he were to be saved from execution, that he would want to help the other inmates in learning the basics of literacy and mathematics. He had noted most of the men sentenced to death row were not literate or numerate, and Eizember wanted to give back and help them with basic tutoring.

Eizember’s lawyers said the past two decades living in a miniature cell allowed Eizember to become less egocentric. He did not begrudge his punishment, and he admitted that his conduct was wrong.

One of Eizember’s closest friends while he was in prison was his own lawyer, Professor Randall T. Coyne, who wrote Eizember was bright, intellectual and delightful. Another one of Eizember’s companions was a sports coach from when Eizember had volunteered before his conduct. He explained Eizember was a good influence in the community.

His lawyers said while in prison, not only did Eizember study diligently on tough concepts, but he also gained interest in spirituality. Eizember spent a lot of time with the Reverend Dr. Jeff Hood, who aided him in prayer and counseling.

Eizember claimed that the time he had spent with the reverend allowed him to accept the responsibility and liability of his actions, and he was grateful for it.

With the testimonials from Eizember’s closest friends in prison, the petition said it is noteworthy that family members Eizember had grown up with did not write in favor of Eizember. The clemency petition mentions that Eizember continued to be abandoned by the people he continued to love, even behind prison walls.

Eizember was given the death penalty for two homicides he was convicted of in the state of Oklahoma. Eizember’s lawyers appealed the charges in both state and federal courts, both of which denied the appeals.

The defense team said the consideration of clemency for Eizember was based on his personal growth during his time in confinement…the clemency process does not deny the Court’s ruling or facts of the case but rather attempts an alternative to capital punishment.

The Eizember lawyers argued Eizember was involuntarily assigned unfortunate circumstances during the first years of his life, insisting that his mother’s death at a young age alongside an abusive father who was left as the primary caretaker is what led him down a path of violence.

They said persistent abandonment issues caused by the death of his mother, stepmother, and one of his closest friends only furthered his insecurities. During a variety of interviews, Eizember would describe himself as a “throwaway man” illustrating his low self-esteem and suggesting that Eizember’s impulsive acts were due to desperation rather than premeditation.

About The Author

Ivan Villegas (he/him) is a criminal justice graduate from CSU Sacramento. He wishes to continue his studies in law school starting in fall 2023. He is interested in immigration and international law, and hopes to use his degree for a career as an immigration attorney.

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