Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has filed a motion with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals requesting that seven impending executions be conducted with more time between each event.
Drummond said he is grateful for the hard work of Department of Corrections (DOC) professionals who are spending many days each month in diligent preparation for a constant stream of executions. Oklahoma has had four executions over nearly five months, with 21 more pending.
Drummond personally attended the Jan. 12 execution of Scott James Eizember, where he was able to observe the dedication and professionalism of DOC staff.
“I was honored to spend time with these outstanding men and women who work every month to carry out the State’s highest punishment and deliver justice to the families of victims,” Drummond said. “I observed their respect for the solemnity of their duty. I saw their regard for the family and loved ones of victims. Oklahoma is fortunate to have dedicated public servants who are willing to train for and carry out a task of such gravity.”
The motion notes the tremendous role played by DOC leadership and staff.
“As is to be expected, DOC leadership and personnel have continuously sought to learn and improve during the process,” states the Jan. 17 filing. “One aspect that has become clear over time is that the current pace of executions is unsustainable in the long run, as it is unduly burdening the DOC and its personnel. This is especially true given the extensive and intensive nature of the training DOC personnel undergo to prepare for each execution.”
If granted, the request would push back by 60 days executions scheduled for Richard Eugene Glossip, Jemaine Monteil Cannon, Anthony Castillo Sanchez, Phillip Dean Hancock, James Chandler Ryder, Michael Dewayne Smith and Wade Greely Lay.
Before filing the motion, Drummond visited with family members of the victims of the aforementioned inmates to explain the reason for the request.
“I do not take lightly this request,” Drummond said. “These families have waited many years to see justice done, and I am grateful for their understanding in this matter.”