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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has denied a clemency recommendation from his Pardon and Parole Board, and is set to execute James Coddington Thursday morning.
The announcement came less than 24 hours before Coddington’s scheduled Thursday execution. Coddington had been convicted of first-degree murder in the 1997 killing of Albert Hale and was later sentenced to death.
A statement from Governor Stitt’s office states that “after thoroughly reviewing arguments and evidence presented by all sides of the case, Governor Kevin Stitt has denied the Pardon and Parole Board’s clemency recommendation for James Allen Coddington.”
On August 3, Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board recommended that Coddington’s death sentence be commuted to life without the possibility of parole.
“I took a life. It changed me. It changed me in a way that I can’t explain, but it changed me. It took a fire out of my stomach that I had my entire life and it made me calm. I don’t know why he had to die to do that, but it did. It calmed me. And I can’t apologize enough for what I did,” Coddington told the board during his clemency hearing.
Coddington is the first of over two dozen inmates planned to be executed by the state of Oklahoma within the next 29 months.
After a federal judge ruled that a controversial drug used in the state’s execution protocol was constitutional, sitting duck Attorney General John O’Connor pushed for an expedited schedule of executions, one per month, in order to bring “justice to the families.”
As the self-proclaimed “most pro-life” Governor in the United States of America, Kevin Stitt is set to approve an execution in less than 24 hours for a man that he has the power to save.
“I’m clean, I know God, I’m not…I’m not a vicious murderer,” Coddington said at his clemency hearing.