Oklahoma executed a man who was convicted of killing an elderly couple and committing other crimes 20 years ago before authorities caught up to him in Texas after a manhunt. Scott James Eizember, 62, received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, reports CBS News. Once the lethal drugs began to flow, Eizember could be seen chatting with his spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeffrey Hood, who was inside the execution chamber with him. He lifted his head and mouthed "I love you," toward his daughter and attorneys, who were among 17 people in the witness room. Eizember's attorneys did not deny he killed A.J. Cantrell, 76, and his wife, Patsy Cantrell, 70, on Oct. 18, 2003. They told the state's Pardon and Parole Board that the killings were unplanned and spontaneous and his life still had value. The board rejected a clemency recommendation on a 3-2 vote.
After the execution, several members of the Cantrell spoke of the pain the family has endured and voiced concern at the length of time it took for Eizember to be executed. "After living this nightmare, I must say that 20 years is too long for justice to be served," said Johnny Melton, the slain couple's nephew. Prosecutors allege Eizember broke into the Cantrells' home in Depew, Ok., after he saw them leave so he could lie in wait for his ex-girlfriend, Kathryn Smith, who lived across the street. When the couple returned unexpectedly, prosecutors say Eizember shot and killed Patsy Cantrell with a shotgun he found inside the home and then bludgeoned A.J. Cantrell to death with the weapon. Eizember was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for killing A.J. Cantrell and convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 150 years in prison for killing Patsy Cantrell. After killing the couple, Eizember walked across the street and entered Smith's home, shot her son in the back and attacked her mother. Both survived and Eizember sped out of town in a stolen vehicle. He made it to Arkansas in a stolen car by kidnapping a physician and his wife. After driving with the couple to Texas, he was captured after the physician shot Eizember with a stashed pistol. A federal jury in Arkansas convicted Eizember in 2005 on two counts of kidnapping and one count each of carjacking and using a firearm in a crime of violence. He was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison in that case. Eizember's execution was the eighth in Oklahoma since the state resumed executions in 2021.