The Norman Transcript

April 25, 2014

Oklahoma to have double execution

By Sean Murphy
The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma plans to hold its first double execution in nearly 80 years, Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday.

The move comes a day after the state Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them. The inmates had sought that information through a civil lawsuit.

“The defendants had their day in court. The court has made a decision,” Gov. Mary Fallin said in a statement. “Two men that do not contest their guilt in heinous murders will now face justice, and the families and friends of their victims will now have closure.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court also dissolved a stay of execution it had issued earlier in the week in a sharply divided and much criticized 5-4 decision that put the state’s two highest courts at odds.

Because the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal matters, Fallin and others accused the state’s high court of initially overstepping its civil-only bounds — to the point that some legislators called for impeaching the five justices who had voted to delay the executions.

Defense attorney Seth Day said in a statement that without knowing the source of the drugs, the public has no way of knowing whether the execution will be carried out in a “constitutional and humane manner.”

“It’s not even known whether the lethal injection drugs to be used were obtained legally, and nothing is known about their source, purity or efficacy, among other questions,” he said.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is working on specifics and logistics of how Tuesday’s executions will be carried out, Fallin said.

It’s rare for multiple executions to happen in one day, with only Arkansas, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas doing so since the death penalty was reinstated in the U.S. in 1976, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center.

The most recent occurrence of two inmates being executed on the same day was Aug. 9, 2000, in Texas. The last time Oklahoma did it was June 11, 1937, when convicted murderers Charlie Sands and Leon Siler were electrocuted.

Arkansas is the only state that has executed three inmates on the same day since 1976: once in 1994 and again in 1997.

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