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Oklahoma AG Halts Execution Calendar With Investigation

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond launched an investigation into the planned execution of Richard Glossip only two weeks after the first lethal injection of the year, halting the rest of the state's execution calendar for the moment, the Intercept reports. Glossip, whose 2015 scheduled execution was called off at the last minute over the state's use of the wrong drug, was again next in line to be executed. Drummond, who witnessed the execution of Scott Eizember on Jan. 12, wrote that “a reassessment of the current execution schedule is necessary to maintain confidence in the system.” Although he praised the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for its “work ethic, professionalism, and concern for the victims’ families,” it had become clear, he wrote, “that the current pace of executions is unsustainable in the long run, as it is unduly burdening the DOC and its personnel.” On Tuesday, the court granted the motion, rescheduling seven executions and postponing 13 additional dates well into the future.


Two days later, Drummond announced that he had appointed an independent prosecutor to reinvestigate Glossip’s case. Glossip, who was scheduled for execution on Feb. 16, had already filled out the paperwork for witnesses and burial plans when news of the investigation arrived — a ritual he has undertaken multiple times. He is now set to die on May 18. Drummond’s intervention so soon after taking office caught many Oklahomans by surprise, including activists, attorneys and people on death row. The previous schedule had set a pace of roughly one execution per month, which would have eliminated half the state’s condemned population within two years. The new schedule puts 60 days between each execution, reducing the number of remaining executions this year from 10 to four.

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