James Coddington Pardons Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt Before Execution

An Oklahoma prisoner used his final moments to forgive the state governor for denying him clemency before he was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.

James Coddington, 50, was executed at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, despite a recommendation from the state’s Pardons and Parole Board that his life be spared.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt refused to commute Coddington’s life sentence without parole and refused to grant him clemency.

Coddington – who was convicted of murder in 1997 – said he forgave Stitt in his last words as he was tied to a stretcher inside the execution room.

“To all of my family and friends, the lawyers, everyone who has been around and loved me, thank you,” Coddington said. “Governor. Stitt, I don’t blame you and I forgive you.

The protesters.
Demonstrators held signs outside the governor’s mansion to protest the execution.

He then looked up and gave a final thumbs up to his lawyer Emma Rolls, who sobbed silently in the witness room.

Coddington was injected with a lethal drug and pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m., becoming the fifth Oklahoma inmate to be put to death since the state resumed executions last year.

He had been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 73-year-old Albert Hale.

At 24, Coddington beat Hale to death with a hammer when the septuagenarian refused to give him money to feed his cocaine addiction.

After killing Hale, he committed at least six armed robberies at gas stations and convenience stores in Oklahoma City.

Protester for James Coddington.
Despite the protester’s best efforts, James Coddington was put to death last Thursday.

Coddington apologized to Hale’s family and said he was a different man today after years of sobriety in moving testimony at his pardon hearing this month before the Board of Pardons and Rewards. Oklahoma parole board, consisting of five members.

Albert Hale’s son, Mitch Hale, watched Coddington be put to death from the witness room on Thursday and said he didn’t believe he had any real remorse.

“He proved today that it wasn’t authentic. He never apologized,” Hale said. “He didn’t raise my father.”

Coddington did not mention his victim in his last words.

“I forgive him, but that doesn’t release him from the consequences of his actions,” Hale added.

Kevin Stitt.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. The governor has denied James Coddington’s clemency request.
Getty Images

At his clemency hearing, Coddington’s solicitor said his client was doomed to a life of addiction from infancy when his father filled his bottles with beer and whisky.

Coddington’s death sentence was initially overturned on appeal, but he was sentenced to death a second time in 2008.

Prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office said Coddington’s crimes warranted his execution.

“When all the circumstances of the murder, the related robberies and the extensive history of violence on the part of Mr. Coddington are taken into account, one thing is clear: death is the only just punishment for him,” they wrote to the Pardons and Parole Board.

Oklahoma halted executions in September 2015 after receiving the wrong lethal drug from vendors who did not match state protocols for execution procedures. After an investigation into the change, the state resumed executions last year.

With post wires

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