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The state of Oklahoma is gearing up to double the number of human beings it executed in 2022, with eleven scheduled this year. The state has scheduled an execution each month except September.
The state’s premeditated killing spree begins with the scheduled execution by lethal injection of Scott Eizember on Thursday, Jan. 12, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Facing the death penalty for a 2003 killing spree, prosecutors claim that Eizember was lying in wait for his ex-girlfriend after she placed a protective order against him, KFOR reported. He was convicted for killing AJ and Patsy Cantrell, an elderly couple who hid Eizember’s ex-girlfriend.
Now, the state of Oklahoma plans to embark on a killing spree of its own with 10 other executions scheduled through the end of the year.
Eizember’s execution will almost certainly take place on Thursday after the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-2 to deny him clemency.
“Ultimately, an Oklahoma jury decided that death was the only just and appropriate punishment for the horrific murder of Mr. Cantrell,” outgoing appointed Attorney General John O’ Conner said in a statement to media outlets.
State tries to deny death row prisoner his choice of clergy
Meanwhile, Eizember’s clergy of record plans to sue the Oklahoma Department of Corrections after learning it plans to deny Eizember’s choice of religious companionship ahead of his execution, according to an email from Death Penalty Action.
“Upon learning that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections plans to deny Scott Eizember’s right to have his chosen Clergy of Record in the death chamber with him as he is being executed at 10am on Thursday, January 12, 2023, attorneys for Eizember will file a complaint on his behalf today with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma,” the email stated.
“Here, the DOC’s actions are not neutral. They are hostile toward religion. Indeed, they deny a prisoner his chosen spiritual advisor at the most critical juncture of his life: his death,” the federal complaint states.
Ironically, in a state whose leaders often preach religious freedom, Eizember’s clergy of record, Jeff Hood, alleges the state is trying to bar a condemned man from having a choice of which clergyperson will share his last moments.
The scheduled executions continue a legacy of state-sanctioned murder under the leadership of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. After a years-long moratorium on executions in the state due to faulty procedures and multiple botched executions, Stitt reopened the death chamber. He’s approved seven executions so far since becoming governor, five in 2021 and two in 2020, according to DPIC.
The killings have catapulted Oklahoma to the infamous distinction of being one of the most active death penalty states in the nation.
Despite evidence that implementation of the death penalty is racially biased and doesn’t deter violent crime, Stitt has signaled his intentions to continue the morbid practice.