McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

November 6, 2012

Oklahoma death row inmate set for execution tonight

McALESTER — Oklahoma death row inmate Garry Thomas Allen, 56, is scheduled to be executed tonight at 6 p.m. in the death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

This is not the first time Allen has been set to be executed. In April, officials at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary conducted normal execution day procedures while waiting to find out about approval or disapproval of an appeal filed with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

A stay was issued for Allen one day before he was set for execution.

“A federal judge stayed Garry Allen’s execution,” said OSP Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw back in April. U.S. District Judge David L. Russell issued the stay, ruling that Allen’s claims that he is insane and ineligible for the death penalty should be reviewed. Allen has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and his attorneys argue his mental state deteriorated on death row.

“Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a notice of appeal to the stay of execution,” Crenshaw said in April. If the appeal to the stay of execution is granted, officials at OSP have “measures in place to carry out the execution according to court orders.” Pruitt’s appeal was not granted.

Allen was also set for execution on Feb. 16, but Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin granted a 30-day stay of execution for the condemned man. She said the stay was issued so her legal team could have more time to consider a 2005 recommendation by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to commute his sentence to life.

“Having thoroughly reviewed the arguments and evidence presented in this case, I have determined that clemency should be denied in this case, and that the sentence of death be carried out,” Fallin wrote in an executive order filed March 13.

The 30-day stay would have set Allen’s execution for March 17, but that date was moved to April 12, before being stayed yet again.

Allen received his death sentence for the 1986 murder of his 24-year-old wife, Lawanna Gail Titsworth. The McAlester News-Capital reported in May of 2008 that Allen’s conviction and death sentence came after he gunned down Titsworth four days after she moved out of their home with their two sons, who were 6 and 2 at the time.

Allen was first scheduled to be executed May 19, 2005. A stay of execution was granted by Judge Bartheld one day before his scheduled execution. The Associated Press reported Allen’s mental competency was in question after a psychological exam at OSP indicated he had developed mental problems while confined on death row. The doctor’s report noted Allen had dementia caused by seizures, drug abuse and being shot in the face.

The U.S. Supreme Court and state law prohibit execution of inmates who are insane or mentally incompetent.

On May 1, 2008, a Pittsburg County jury decided, on split decision, that Allen is “sane to be executed.” For more than three years since, numerous court motions and legal arguments have been heard in the case.

On Dec. 28, Bartheld signed a legal order vacating Allen’s stay of execution, stating “the court ... having reviewed the pleadings, finds that the issue of the sanity of Garry Thomas Allen for execution has been resolved...”

On Nov. 21, 1986, reports indicate Allen went to his children’s daycare center in Oklahoma City when his wife, Titsworth, was scheduled to pick them up. Titsworth had gone to the parking lot when Allen confronted her, according to court records. As Titsworth opened the door to her truck, Allen shut the door and prevented her from entering, court documents state.

As the two argued, Allen reached into his sock, pulled out a revolver and shot Titsworth twice in the chest.

“It is unclear whether Titsworth was holding her youngest son at the time of the shooting or had picked him up immediately thereafter,” documents filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals state.

After Allen shot Titsworth, she begged him not to shoot her again and fell to the ground. Allen then asked Titsworth if she was all right and lifted up her blouse, apparently attempting to examine her injuries.

“At the time of the shooting, some of the daycare employees were in the parking lot and several of the children were in a van parked a few feet from Titsworth’s truck,” court documents state.

“After the shooting, Titsworth managed to get up and start running toward the building along with a daycare center employee.”

As they headed up the steps leading to the front door, Allen pushed the daycare employee through the door and shoved Titsworth down on the steps, where he shot her twice in the back at close range.

Oklahoma City police officer Mike Taylor responded to a 911 call within minutes and a witness pointed to an alley where Allen was hiding. Taylor spotted Allen in the alley, pulled his revolver and ordered him to stop and remain still.

Although Allen initially complied with the order, he turned and began walking away. When Taylor reached out to place a hand on him, Allen quickly turned and grabbed the policeman’s gun.

During a struggle, Allen gained partial control of the gun and “attempted to make officer Taylor shoot himself by applying pressure to Taylor’s finger which was still on the trigger,” court documents state.

As the struggle continued, Taylor regained control of the gun and shot Allen in the face, according to court records.

Allen was hospitalized for approximately two months for injuries to his face, left eye and brain. Afterwards, he entered a blind plea — meaning no plea bargain agreement had been reached — to first-degree murder and other charges on Nov. 10, 1987.

An Oklahoma County judge subsequently sentenced Allen to death. The appeals court later ordered a second sentence hearing, which also resulted in the death sentence.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Correction’s website, at www.doc.state.ok.us, Allen has been incarcerated at OSP since Dec. 23, 1987, and is currently housed on death row in the prison’s H-Unit.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com. James Beaty contributed to this story, contact him at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smart phone.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • 07 30 SOUTH AVE 1.jpg 'Road Closed' means just that

    No road.
    No kidding.
    For months, signs placed along South Avenue and Country Club Road read “Road Closed Ahead” — although the roads were still open.

    Now though, the “Road Closed Ahead” signs on South Avenue, along with those on Country Club Road and Peaceable Road, mean exactly what they say.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg City extends 17th Street construction deadline to mid-September

    A Stillwater company working on the Seventeenth Street Capital Improvement Project for the city of McAlester now has until mid-September to complete the job.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Devin Mitchell McAlester man facing rape charges has hearing date set

    A preliminary hearing date has been set for a man who is facing charges of rape in the first degree (victim under age 14) and sodomy, victim under the age of 16.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • comish County to decide on liquor sales

    They’re ready to give the voters a shot.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • comish Election set to decide Sunday sales of liquor by the drink

    They’re ready to give the voters a shot.
    Pittsburg County commissioners have called a Nov. 4 Special Election date for voters to decide if they want to approve the sale of liquor by the drink on Sundays.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Randy Green Judge rules in Green case

    A Pittsburg County judge has ruled the city of McAlester acted improperly in amending former City Manager Randy Green’s retirement plan to eliminate an “additional benefit” of $1,764.49.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Road closed ROAD CLOSED

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • mhrc Okla. State student observing at MRHC

    An Oklahoma State University student is observing at McAlester Regional Health Center as part of the rural medicine track offered at the university.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • CHRIS-MORRIS-2.jpg Detective's Dispatch

    The McAlester Police Department responds to domestic violence calls on a daily basis. Many times when our officers arrive, we get very little cooperation.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • lungdoctor.png Hospital hires lung specialist

    McAlester has a new lung doctor, the first since 2008.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.