OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Friday denied a convicted murderer’s request to commute his death sentence to life in prison.
Clayton Lockett, 38, shot 19-year-old Stephanie Nieman with a sawed-off shotgun and watched as two accomplices buried her alive in rural Kay County in 1999.
Lockett refused to appear at the hearing, where the board voted 4-1 in denying the request, via the video link. He is scheduled to be executed March 20.
Lockett also joined fellow death row inmate Charles Warner in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the Oklahoma Department of Corrections seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent their executions until more could be revealed about the origin of the lethal injection drugs. A hearing is set for Tuesday.
Lockett’s lawyer, David Autry, read a letter from the inmate on Friday.
“(The family) had to endure something no one should have to endure,” Lockett’s lawyer, David Autry, said. “(Mr. Lockett) has had time to reflect and is sincerely and genuinely remorseful for his actions, for which there is no excuse.”
Among other claims, Lockett wrote in the letter that two years after being incarcerated, he attempted suicide because he was so remorseful.
“I must believe that we all must pay for our sins in this life and in the hereafter,” Lockett wrote. “Living with the guilt and shame was too much for me to bear.”
But Mark L. Gibson, the retired district attorney who prosecuted the case, testified Friday that Lockett committed the crime not because of drugs, alcohol, rage or mental illness, but because he was purely evil.
“Clayton Lockett thrives on fear, not because he killed, because others have done that, not because he raped, because others have done that, but because he enjoyed it,” Gibson said. “I would just like to ask this board to vote no on the clemency this inmate wasn’t even willing to ask for himself.”