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Jemaine Cannon is set to face a July 20 execution date after the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board declined to support his self-defense claim. The board voted 3-2 to deny clemency at his hearing on Wednesday.

Convicted in 1995 for the killing of Sharonda Clark in her Tulsa apartment, Cannon’s attorney argued he was never allowed to present his self-defense claim during trial.

“He wanted to present his self-defense presentation, his explanation, and his public defenders declined to permit him to do that,” attorney Mark Henrickson said, FOX 25 reported. “You have the right to testify, you should listen to the advice of your lawyer, but at the end of the day, it is your decision. That did not happen in this case.”

Meanwhile, the five-member board, which includes three former district attorneys, refused to provide mercy, voting in favor of his death sentence.

“I am pleased the Pardon and Parole Board denied clemency for the monster who brutally murdered Sharonda Clark and deprived her two young children of their mother,” Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said in a statement after the vote. “Justice will be served when the death penalty is carried out July 20.

The decision to move forward with the execution comes in a state where Black men are overrepresented on death row and in which several botched executions resulted in what critics consider cruel and unusual state-sanctioned killings of prisoners.

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board criticized for ties to law enforcement

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty blasted the Pardon and Parole Board for its decision to move forward with killing Jemaine Cannon.

“We have a serious problem with the composition of the Pardon and Parole Board (OK-CADP). Three former District Attorneys voted No today to clemency for Jemaine Cannon. The two other members of the [Board] voted Yes. We had the same split in the previous two clemency hearings,” a statement from OK-CADP reads.

Notably, state and local prosecutors have a history of interfering in the clemency and commutation proceedings for other former death row detainees. After Julius Jones was granted an historic clemency recommendation by the Pardon and Parole Board in 2021, board member replacements have resulted in DAs representing a majority of the board.

Anti-Death Penalty group denounces death sentence for Jemaine Cannon

“Jemaine Cannon was physically abused by his mother and stepfather over his entire childhood. He suffers from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Cannon told a police investigator that he just snapped. The district attorneys are unable to recognize the vulnerability of the men that come before them,” OK-CADP stated.

“It is a failure of imagination. It is hard for anyone who grew up in middle-class homes with stable and loving parents to imagine the trauma these men suffered as children and the role it played in their violent lives. We cannot imagine how a normal human being could act that way,” the statement continues. “For the State to kill him is not justice, it is cruelty.”

The July 20 execution of Jemaine Cannon will mark the second execution in Oklahoma in 2023, and the 9th execution under Republican Governor Kevin Stitt’s administration, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...