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Oklahoma Executes Killer, Fifth Since Resuming Capital Punishment

Oklahoma executed James Coddington on Thursday for a 1997 killing, despite a recommendation from the state’s Pardon and Parole Board that his life be spared. Coddington, 50, received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, reports the Associated Press. Gov. Kevin Stitt declined to commute Coddington’s sentence to life in prison without parole and rejected a clemency petition. Coddington was the fifth Oklahoma inmate to be executed since the state resumed executions last year.

Coddington was sentenced to die for beating Albert Hale, 73, to death with a hammer. Prosecutors say Coddington, then 24, became enraged when Hale refused to give him money to buy cocaine. During a clemency hearing before the state’s five-member Pardon and Parole Board, an emotional Coddington apologized to Hale’s family and said he was a different man today. Mitch Hale, Albert Hale’s son, said he didn’t believe Coddington was sincerely remorseful, noting that he never mentioned his father or the Hale family during his last words. “He proved today it wasn’t genuine. He never apologized,” Hale said. Emma Rolls, Coddington’s attorney, said Coddington was impaired by years of alcohol and drug abuse that began as an infant when his father put beer and whiskey into his baby bottles. Oklahoma halted executions in 2015 when prison officials realized they had received the wrong lethal drug. It came to light that the same wrong drug had been used to execute an inmate.