Inside the Oklahoma death chamber

Posted at 8:57 AM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 09:57:34-04

MCALESTER, Okla. - Should Richard Glossip's execution be carried out as scheduled, the 52-year-old will become the state's 196th inmate to be put to death. Furthermore, when 2015 comes to a close two more inmates will bring that number to 198 inmates put to death by the state.

Oklahoma carried out its first execution in 1915 when Henry Bookman, 28, was executed by electrocution. Arthur Gooch holds the distinction as the lone death row inmate to be hanged. Gooch was a federal prisoner - convicted of kidnapping - who spent 318 days in Department of Corrections custody before he was executed on June 19, 1936.

This is a look inside the numbers that define our state's history of capital punishment.


18 - Youngest
74 - Oldest
38 - Average age


1 - Asian (0.5 percent)
2 - Other (1 percent)
3 - Hispanic (1.5 percent)
6 - Indian (3.1 percent)
61- Black (31.3 percent)
122 - White (62.6 percent)


3 - Female (1.5 percent)
192 - Male (98.5 percent)


1 - Hanging (0.5 percent)
82 - Electrocution (42.1 percent)
112 - Lethal Injection (57.4 percent)


30 - Fewest number of days
2,784 - Average number of days
9,207 - Most number of days
4,529 - Average number of days once the Death Penalty was reinstated in 1990.


The last execution by electrocution happened in 1966. 

The first execution by lethal injection in Oklahoma occurred on September 10, 1990, when Charles Troy Coleman, convicted in 1979 of Murder 1st Degree in Muskogee County, was executed.

Lois Nadean Smith is the most recent female to be executed. Smith died by lethal injection on Dec. 4, 2001. In fact, the executions of the state's three females were all carried out in 2001.

The busiest year for executions was 2001. Eighteen inmates were put to death that year.

The state went 24 years without an execution (1966-1990).

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Oklahoma's Death Penalty Law that required executions to be carried out by electrocution to be unconstitutional in 1972. Five years later, Oklahoma's current method of execution, lethal injection, was enacted into law.

Benjamin Cole and John Grant are the next inmates in line for execution. Cole is scheduled for Oct. 7, 2015. Grant will be executed 21 days later.

Photos courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Corrections