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December 9, 2021

Oklahoma completes final 2021 scheduled execution in the United States

As reported in this local article, headlined "Bigler Stouffer executed in Oklahoma without problems of previous lethal injections," the latest and last execution in Oklahoma took place this morning and here are the details:

Oklahoma executed inmate Bigler Jobe "Bud" Stouffer II Thursday without the issues that caused the last three lethal injections to be described as botched.

The convicted murderer was pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. It was the state's second execution in a month and a half after the practice was halted for more than six years. "No vomiting, no erratic movements or anything like that. Just, you could see his chest moving as he appeared to breathe. That's about it," said one media witness, Sean Murphy of The Associated Press.

The execution process began at 10:01 a m., Corrections Department Director Scott Crow told reporters. Stouffer was declared unconscious at 10:06 a.m. For his last words, Stouffer said, "My request is that my Father forgive them. Thank you," media witnesses reported.

In a policy change, Stouffer was allowed to have his personal spiritual advisor, Baptist minister Howard Potts, in the execution chamber with him. Potts put a hand on Stouffer's foot and read from a Bible, witnesses said. Early in the process, the advisor said something that made Stouffer laugh.

At 79, Stouffer is the oldest inmate in Oklahoma history to be executed. He is the second oldest inmate to be executed in the nation since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

He was put to death by lethal injection for the fatal shooting of Putnam City elementary school teacher Linda Reaves in 1985. He maintained to the end he was wrongfully convicted. "He felt like if he couldn't prove his innocence while alive then his attorneys would prove it after he was gone," said Goforth, who works for The Frontier.

Three more executions are set for next year. As many as 26 more could be scheduled next year if death row inmates lose a legal challenge to the lethal injection process at a trial in Oklahoma City federal court. The trial is set to begin Feb. 28.

Stouffer filed his own legal challenge after his execution was set. He sought to have his execution delayed until after the trial but was turned down in court three times. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his last request for a stay about 8 a.m. Thursday.

His attorneys also had sought clemency for him. Gov. Kevin Stitt last week rejected a recommendation to commute his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Stouffer spent more than three decades on death row because he was tried twice. He was first convicted in 1985. He was granted a retrial in 2000 when a federal appeals court agreed his defense attorneys had been inept. He was convicted again in 2003 but did not exhaust his appeals of that conviction until 2017....

After the execution, the family of the murder victim thanked the governor and Attorney General John O'Connor for their willingness to carry justice through. "Although long in coming, justice has prevailed," a cousin, Rodney C. Thomson, told reporters at the penitentiary....

His spiritual advisor told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board in November that Stouffer turned his incarceration into a spiritual ministry and regularly shared his faith with other death row inmates.

According to this Death Penalty Information Center page, there are no more executions scheduled for 2021.  That means the total number of US executions this year was only 11, the lower total yearly number in more than three decades (there were 11 executions in 1988 in the US).  For a host of reasons, I am inclined to predict that execution numbers will start trending back up in coming years.  But, then again, almost everything about the administration of the death penalty in the United States has a way of becoming unpredictable.

December 9, 2021 at 04:39 PM | Permalink

Comments

Justice far too late.

Posted by: Federalist | Dec 10, 2021 10:16:51 AM

Looking at the facts, the guy seemed to warrant a long time in prison. It was some scheme to murder for profit.

There are some real heinous types who many think morally warrant to be executed. One contributor here thinks the average serious theft might warrant an execution.

This guy? The over thirty years in prison (and recommendation of the parole and pardons board to keep him in longer) was a lot of "justice."

I suppose the religious might think he will now get celestial justice that cannot be found on earth.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 13, 2021 11:48:09 AM

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