GOP Oklahoma Lawmakers Join Call for Death Penalty Execution Pause

Via: Save Richard Glossip Facebook Page

By Belen Avelar

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- Three Oklahoma Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Kevin McDugle, have joined a former corrections official to ask for the suspension of the death penalty, slowing a recent rapid rate of executions, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, AP said the state of Oklahoma has executed a majority of inmates sentenced to the death penalty, more than any other state. Since then, 10 death row inmates awaiting execution were freed due to prosecutors declining to file charges that the court dismissed.

AP said after the reinstatement of the death penalty in Oklahoma, the state continued eight more executions in October 2021. Then six years later, a postponement of lethal injections in 2014 arose due to botched lethal injections and unsafe executions with drug mix-ups being used on inmates.

Richard Glossip, an inmate on death row charged with the murder-for-hire killing of his former boss, has maintained his innocence although set to be executed in Oklahoma May 18.

But, according to a former supporter of the death penalty, Rep. McDugle, Glossip might actually be innocent.

Glossip’s case is under an independent review after Attorney General Gentner Drummond ordered it.

Adam Luck, notes AP, was an appointee of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt to the OK Board of Corrections that oversees the state prison system and the Pardon and Parole Board until Luck resigned last year after a string of executions. Luck is now part of those who want the death penalty suspended.

McDugle, the Republican from Broken Arrow, is concerned with the case of Richard Glossip and stated that “his case is what got me involved with this, and I could not stand to see an innocent man put to death in Oklahoma, and I happen to know that Oklahomans don’t want to put an innocent man to death in Oklahoma either.”

The opposition to the death penalty in the U.S. is growing, and even conservatives are looking at making changes to the death penalty law, said Richard Dieter, director of Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit that takes no position on capital punishment but has criticized the way states carry out executions.

 “Conservatives have a platform for life, and life is on the line here in these cases, so it’s not totally surprising,” said Dieter.

McDugle said “a recent Oklahoma poll suggests that support wanes considerably when respondents are offered sentencing options like life in prison with or without parole.”

AG Drummond wonders if families suffer less knowing that their loved one’s killer is sentenced to life without parole. Last month the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with Drummond to slow down the pace of executions taking place.

In an interview with the Associated Press last month, Drummond emphasized how he understands that the death penalty is a legal form of punishment in Oklahoma.

Drummond stated, “I wonder if the family wouldn’t be able to just flip the switch and start healing knowing this guy is never coming out. I talked to every one of the families, and it’s like they’re on an emotional yo-yo.”

About The Author

Belen Avelar is a senior at CSU Long Beach majoring in Criminal Justice/Criminology. She is obtaining her Bachelor's degree May of 2023. Following her graduation she plans to join the Gardena Police Department as a peace officer who wishes to expand her career further as a Homicide Detective. Her goal is to help those families whose family members have been killed and provide some type of comfort by figuring out the circumstances surrounding their death and who is responsible. Belen speaks both english and spanish fluently.

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