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Oklahoma death row inmate James Coddington executed in McAlester

Posted at 12:15 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 18:15:27-04

MCALESTER, Okla. — The State of Oklahoma executed death row inmate James Coddington on Thursday.

Coddington was sentenced to die for the 1997 hammer killing in Choctaw of co-worker Albert Hale, who prosecutors said had refused to lend Coddington $50 to buy drugs.

We're in McAlester following updates:

10:45 a.m.

Oklahoma Director of Corrections Scott Crow told the media that the execution started at 10:02, Coddington was unconscious by 10:08, and he died at 10:16.

"There were no issues at all" with Thursday's execution, Crow said. This marks the director's final execution as he announced his retirement plans earlier this month.

The Associated Press's Sean Murphy is the first of five media witnesses to talk about his observations.

Murphy said Coddington thanked several people including family members and attorneys with his last words. He said the execution was on par with most that the state usually considers to go through without incident.

The remaining media witnesses' testimony did not report anything that contradicted Crow or Murphy's observations.

10:16 a.m.

Oklahoma executed James Coddington. His time of death is reported as 10:16 a.m.

Media witnesses will report their observations after leaving the execution chamber.

6:00 a.m.

Preparations are now underway in McAlester for the scheduled execution of James Coddington on Thursday morning after Gov. Kevin Stitt announced he is denying clemency for the death row inmate.

Coddington's last meal was two cheeseburgers, two crunchy fish tacos, two large fries and a large coke.

READ MORE: Execution dates set for six Oklahoma death row inmates

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to recommend clemency for Coddington in early August.

This marks the first execution to resume in 2022. It comes after weeks of debate about whether the state's execution methods are constitutional and violated death row inmates' rights.

The debate started last October when John Marion Grant vomited and convulsed after he was administered midazolam, the first drug in the three-step lethal injection process.

Descriptions from witnesses caused some to question if the execution went as planned, but the Oklahoma Department of Corrections says it went "without complications."

Since then, many death row inmates and their legal teams have submitted requests to courts to put a pause on executions.

A stay of execution was granted for Coddington in March 2022 after the courts put a hold on executions to determine the requests.

Months later, a judge ruled that Oklahoma can continue with its executions by lethal injection, ruling that the inmates in this case "have fallen well short" of proving that the method of execution violates their constitutional rights.

ODOC announced shortly after the ruling that executions are resuming in the fall, with Coddington being first.

READ MORE: Clemency hearing dates announced for 6 death row inmates

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he denied the Pardon and Parole Board's clemency recommendation for Coddington.

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