Oklahoma: James Coddington executed despite clemency board recommendation
On Thursday morning, 50-year-old James Coddington was executed by lethal injection in the US state of Oklahoma.
He was sentenced to death for beating a 73-year-old man he was friends with a hammer in 1997 when he refused to give him money for cocaine. James Coddington was marked by years of alcohol and drug abuse that began as a child when his father put beer and whiskey in his baby bottles.
He appeared very emotional and remorseful at the clemency board hearing. Advocates even among the prison staff acknowledged how much Coddington had changed for the better, so the clemency board voted 3-2 to recommend to the governor that the death sentence be commuted to life in prison.
Governor Stitt declined to issue a pardon the day before the execution without giving a reason. While the victim’s son wanted to see the perpetrator executed and did not buy his remorse, a cousin of the victim wrote during an online vigil on Facebook, “Our whole family forgives James and we love you.”
Similarly, a woman who was a victim of a robbery he committed had pleaded with Governor Stitt for clemency for Coddington: “Alive, he can still be of use in prison. His death will be of no use to anyone in the world.”