OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Attorney General Gentner Drummond and Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) Executive Director Steven Harpe filed a joint motion Tuesday asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to schedule the next phase of executions at 90-day intervals.
This injunction would affect the executions of: Richard Norman Rojem, Emmanuel Littlejohn, Kevin Ray Underwood, Wendell Arden Grissom, Tremane Wood and Kendrick Antonio Simpson.
Harpe says that the scheduling of an execution date triggers a series of tasks that must be completed by ODOC staff, many of which must occur weeks before the slated execution.
“The day of an execution affects not only those directly involved in the execution, but the entirety of Oklahoma State Penitentiary, which goes into a near complete lockdown until the execution is completed,” states the affidavit.
According to Drummond’s officer, the Attorney General personally visited with family members of the victims of the affected inmates to explain the reason for the request before filing the motion,.
“These families have waited far too long for justice to be done,” Drummond said. “Each family has a heartbreaking story of tragic loss, and it grieves me that the death penalty system takes so many years to deliver closure. Their day for justice draws closer. When that day comes, I will be there to bear witness.”
Harpe says adjusting the pace of executions can protect the integrity of the process.
“The previous model put a massive strain on ODOC to carry out daily operations due to the time the employees spent away from their primary posts to perform the required number of drills,” said Harpe. “We appreciate Attorney General Drummond’s help in navigating this petition to