Better Call Saul (Of Tarsus),Oklahoma Has Executed Richard Fairchild
McAlester Ok November, 17 (The Oklahoma Post) –
Oklahoma executed Richard Fairchild in McAlester Thursday morning, November 17th, 2022. Fairchild was sentenced to death for the killing of three-year-old (3) Adam Broomhall, in Del City Oklahoma in 1993. He certainly deserved death. Some cases, such as the 2022 Garfield County murder of Caliyah J. Guyton, bring such justifiable anger that the only earthly reasonable response is the death penalty.
Fairchild was just one of a large number of inmates scheduled for execution over the next few months. The executions will be by lethal injection. Oklahoma will kill ten (10) prisoners a year in 2023 and 2024. A look at the broader narrative, on November 8th, 2022 Oklahoma citizens voted to kill twenty-nine (29) people in the next twenty-five (25) months as a green light for punishment. The sheer numbers alone appear as if they were a possible misprint. We list those inmates at the bottom of this article.
But will Governor Kevin Stitt and his religious right voting base continue to support the Oklahoma death penalty?
The concerns regarding the death penalty in Oklahoma are not just because of the unavailability of the lethal drug cocktail, nor the perceived equal protection in the courts. The concerns are not because the courts have a clear racial bias, rampant corruption, the number of innocents put to death (4%), or because of its obvious historic failure as a deterrent of violent crime. The concern of the most sizable voting block in Oklahoma is a case of religious ethics; those moral principles that guide the lifestyle, decisions, and policy of many of the religious right. You know, Jesus himself was a victim of an innocent man being wrongly killed at the hands of capital punishment. In a September Pew research study, 67% of Americans say that religious institutions should keep out of political matters. While at the same time, 45% of citizens believe America should be a Christian nation.
The Christian right is hesitant to applaud the recent execution and are questioning the upcoming line-up. Sermons are surely in the script to help parishioners discern the contrasting political stances.
Problems occur in the U.S. criminal justice system; this is an understatement. Even the longtime right-wing, nail-biting, ex-drill sergeant, stop the steal leading, State Rep. Kevin McDugle R-Broken Arrow knows that the death penalty is wrong and has been working to at least “study” the practice in Oklahoma. He believes there are too many wrongful convictions. In some long-forgotten Oklahoma murder cases, the scheming to commit the crimes by the alleged murderers were as devious as Richard Fairchild’s, but the perpetrators were connected and eventually walked free of the death penalty. Take the Jennifer Wheeler Paeyeneers case of Stillwater Oklahoma as a prime example of the way the system can be worked for a rehabilitative outcome for certain town favorites.
While the rule of law is just ink on paper to some, Christians in government carry their Jesus ethics with them into office. Jesus taught us to love our enemies; it is difficult to kill those whom we are supposed to love. Therefore, those who take seriously a belief in the afterlife must ponder long and hard the consequences of ending the life of one they deem guilty. A conversation with God must be held as to our earthly desire to terminate a life. A personal decision must be made to determine if this execution is being done in order to fulfill God’s justice, out of convenience, or as an act of earthly revenge.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is a willful self-proclaiming follower of the tenants of Christianity. His parents greatly influenced his life. His father, the Rev. John Stitt, was a preacher in Norman and together with his mother Joyce Stitt raised a successful man by most accounts. With his parents by his side at a 2019 Day of Prayer gathering at the Oklahoma State Capitol, Stitt stated:
“It’s such an honor for me to be here with you as your governor. It’s such an honor for me to be up here with my mom and dad. I just can’t thank them enough for their spiritual guidance and upbringing,” he said. “For all of us who are parents in here, we can give our kids a lot of things but giving them a godly heritage, a godly foundation, is the most important thing.”
A Godly foundation, according to Christianity, means a belief in a plurality of God, including a version that he walked on Earth to show his human creation the way. Yes, Jesus came to Earth for the express purpose of shedding his blood on the cross to provide forgiveness of murderers’ sins on Earth (Romans 5:8-9; Hebrews 5:8-9).
However, God’s directive to Noah, as recorded in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, is often used to advance the death penalty: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6). Jesus of the New Testament called his followers to a higher ethic than even Noah’s thoughts on punishment.
Jesus and his apostle Paul instructed us to leave vengeance to God. Since the death of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church has generally opposed the death penalty and, in August 2018, Pope Francis reformed the Christian denomination to now explicitly condemn the death penalty in all cases as an “inadmissible attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”
The Apostle Paul’s words, of which the Catholic Church was founded, recorded the life and teachings of Jesus and his earliest followers. The scripture seems quite clear to take a position of nonviolence, particularly with a punishment that might be construed as revenge. This is because Jesus created the church and its parishioners to be a peaceable force in a violent world.
Paul, a more important guy in the Christian faith than Rev. Stitt, preached to believers, “As far as it is possible, live at peace with those around you” (12:18). He also commands them to live without revenge, trusting God to hand out punishment in the end: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay'” (12:19). By this time, according to the Scriptures, Jesus “gave up the Holy Ghost” to heaven. Paul was certainly speaking of a heavenly God.
Through this religious observation, one can understand the dilemma that Governor Stitt faces when allowing the executions to continue, month after month after month. Stitt’s room is booked until 2025.
The Holy Bible tells of God’s redemption of murderers named Moses and David. I’ll let you Google the stories, but rest assured both were killers. Despite their crimes on Earth, God redeemed them. Remember, the gospel is based on hope in such redemption. From Governor Stitt’s perspective, the hope of conversion to God’s grace and redemption is the single greatest reason for his existence. As recently as this week, Governor Stitt claimed the State of Oklahoma as belonging to Jesus. With that proclamation, he must stand against execution as a viable form of punishment in the future.
Name: Richard Glossip Birthdate: 02/09/1953 Offense: First-degree murder, two death sentences County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 06/01/1998, 08/27/2004 On death row since: 08/31/1998. He has exhausted his court appeals and has had his execution date moved multiple times to allow time for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to address pending legal proceedings. Glossip is currently set to be executed Feb. 16, 2023.
John Fitzgerald Hanson
Name: John Fitzgerald Hanson Offense: First-degree murder County convicted: Tulsa Conviction date: 05/23/2001, 01/24/2006 On death row since: 2002. He has exhausted his court appeals and has an execution date set for Dec. 15, 2022.
Name: Scott Eizember Birthdate: 01/10/1961 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Canadian Conviction date: 03/24/2005 On death row since: 03/28/2005. He has exhausted his court appeals and has an execution date set Jan. 12, 2023.
Name: Anthony Sanchez Birthdate: 11/01/1978 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Cleveland Conviction date: 06/06/2006 On death row since: 6/7/2006. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for April 6, 2023.
Name: Alfred Mitchell Birthdate: 12/23/1972 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 07/10/1992 On death row since: 7/15/1992. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for Oct. 3, 2024.
Name: Marlon Harmon Birthdate: 07/12/1980 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 07/02/2008 On death row since: 07/14/2008. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for Dec. 5, 2024.
Name: Carlos Cuesta-Rodriguez Birthdate: 10/04/1955 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 08/15/2007 On death row since: 8/20/2007. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for June 6, 2024.
Clarence Goode Jr.
Name: Clarence Goode Jr. Birthdate: 04/22/1976 Offense: First-degree murder, three death sentences County Convicted: Tulsa Conviction date: 12/10/2007 On death row since: 1/14/2008. He has exhausted his appeals. His execution is set for June 6, 2024.
Name: Emmanuel Littlejohn Birthdate: 11/09/1971 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 11/23/1994 On death row since: 11/30/1994. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for Nov. 2, 2023.
Name: James Pavatt Birthdate: 11/10/1953 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 10/21/2003 Death row rulings: Put on death row in 2003, Pavatt had his death sentence overturned in 2017. A federal court overturned that ruling, reinstating Pavatt’s death sentence on June 27, 2019. His appeals have been exhausted. His execution is set for July 11, 2024.
Name: James Ryder Birthdate: 03/30/1962Offense: First-degree murderCounty Convicted: PittsburgConviction date: 06/21/2000On death row since: 6/23/2000. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for June 1, 2023.
Name: Jemaine CannonBirthdate: 11/13/1971 Offense: First-degree murderCounty Convicted: TulsaConviction date: 03/26/1995On death row since: 4/8/1996. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for March 9, 2023.
Name: Kendrick Simpson Birthdate: 10/02/1980 Offense: First-degree murder, two death sentences County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 10/26/2007 On death row since: 11/5/2007. His execution is set for March 7, 2024.
Name: Kevin Underwood Birthdate: 12/19/1979 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Cleveland Conviction date: 04/03/2008 On death row since: 04/07/2008. His execution is set for Dec. 7, 2023.
Michael D. Smith
Name: Michael D. Smith Birthdate: 06/24/1982 Offense: First-degree murder, two death sentences County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 10/14/2003 On death row since: 10/20/2003. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for July 6, 2023.
Name: Phillip Hancock Birthdate: 02/15/1964Offense: First-degree murder, two death sentencesCounty Convicted: OklahomaConviction date: 10/25/2004On death row since: 11/01/2004. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for May 4, 2023.
Raymond E. Johnson
Name: Raymond Johnson Birthdate: 03/25/1974 Offense: First-degree murder, two death sentences County Convicted: Tulsa Conviction date: 07/28/2009 On death row since: 08/10/2009. His execution is set for May 2, 2024.
Name: Richard Rojem Jr. Birthdate: 12/19/1957Offense: First-degree murderCounty Convicted: WashingtonConviction date: 07/15/1985On death row since: 07/15/1985. He has exhausted his court appeals. His execution is set for Oct. 5, 2023.
Name: Ricky Malone Birthdate: 06/10/1974 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Comanche Conviction date: 06/16/2005 On death row since: 06/20/2005. SCOTUS denied certiorari 10/7/2019.
Name: Ronson Bush Birthdate: 05/15/1977 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Grady Conviction date: 10/29/2009 On death row since: 11/13/2009. His execution is set for Sept. 5, 2024.
Name: Termane Wood Birthdate: 10/09/1979 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Oklahoma Conviction date: 05/07/2004 On death row since: 05/17/2004. He has exhausted his appeals. His execution is set for Feb. 8, 2024.
Name: Wade Lay Birthdate: 02/28/1961 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Tulsa Conviction date: 10/24/2005 On death row since: 10/31/2005. He has exhausted his appeals. His execution is set for Aug. 3, 2023.
Name: Wendell Grissom Birthdate: 10/11/1968 Offense: First-degree murder County Convicted: Blaine Conviction date: 06/17/2008 On death row since: 06/30/2008. His execution is set for Jan. 11, 2024.
(Writing by Robbie Robertson; Editing by Robbie Robertson)
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