Oklahoma Department of Corrections | Courtesy photo

Oklahoma resumed lethal injections of death row inmates in 2021.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor's office asked a state appeals court Friday to set execution dates for 25 death row inmates.

Attorneys filed notices of execution dates with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in the case against Richard Glossip and 24 other death row inmates who have exhausted their appeals.

The request comes just days after a federal judge ruled Glossip and other death row inmates did not prove Oklahoma's execution protocol violated the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

Death row inmates argued the first of the three drugs used in the state’s lethal injection mixture, the sedative midazolam, is not adequate to render an inmate unable to feel pain and creates a risk of severe pain and suffering. 

U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot ruled the U.S. Supreme Court did not make clear the requirements of a successful lethal injection challenge under the Eighth Amendment.

Attorneys brought the challenge after inmate John Grant vomited and convulsed during his execution last October. Friot wrote the vomiting was unsurprising as he had a full stomach, and that Grant’s convulsions likely came as a result of a blocked airway.

Oklahoma prisons officials asked for execution dates be scheduled on a Thursday and no less than four weeks apart, according to the AG’s office filing.

Documents state prison officials asked for the first scheduled execution to be scheduled no earlier than Aug. 25, 2022, and with at least 35 days’ notice in order for the agency to prepare and for clemency hearings to be held.

“By the state’s calculations, therefore, it will be necessary to schedule some executions more than four weeks apart,” the filing states. “However, the state respectfully asks that — for the sake of the victims’ families, many of whom have waited decades — as many executions possible are set four weeks apart.”

Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death for commissioning the 1997 death of Barry Van Treese. He was scheduled to die on Sept. 30, 2015 when then-Governor Mary Fallin issued a last minute stay after learning the state did not have the correct drugs — coming within roughly a year of two trouble executions.

Clayton Lockett, convicted in 2000 of murder and several other charges, was deemed unconscious before it took 43 minutes for him to die during his April 24, 2014, lethal injection. A state investigation later found an IV was not properly monitored in Lockett’s thigh.

Oklahoma came under fire again in the 2015 lethal injection of Charles Warner, who was convicted of the rape and murder of an infant. In that execution it was later discovered the state used potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride — which wasn't approved in protocols at that time.

Days after Fallin issued the stay for Glossip, then-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed a petition with the Appeals Court seeking an indefinite stay of all scheduled executions in the state saying he lacked confidence the Oklahoma Department of Corrections can carry out a legal execution. Pruitt’s petition was granted.

Glossip’s case drew international attention, largely from opponents of the death penalty — like Mark Ruffalo, Peter Sarsgaard, Sister Helen Prejean, Pope Francis, and Sir Richard Branson. Actress Susan Sarandon took up Glossip’s cause, appearing on the Dr. Phil show to make her case as to why she believed Glossip shouldn’t be executed.

The state asked the Appeals Court to set the dates of executions in order of when the inmate exhausted their appeals — with two exceptions.

James A. Coddington, who was scheduled to be executed on March 10, 2022, had his execution stayed by a federal judge who allowed him to rejoin the federal lawsuit against the state’s execution protocol.

State attorneys suggest for Coddington to be executed first.

Wade Lay, who was scheduled to be executed on Jan. 6, 2022, and America’s first of 2022, was stayed by a Pittsburg County judge for a competency trial to be held.

“A jury trial will be held in May of 2023 to determine Mr. Lay’s competence to be executed, Accordingly, the state requests that Mr. Lay’s execution be scheduled for a date after May of 2023 so that his competence to be executed may be determined,” the filing states. 

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