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Execution dates scheduled for 6 Oklahoma death row inmates

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday set execution dates for six death row inmates, just hours before an attorney for one planned to ask for a rehearing in his case. Execution dates for James Coddington, Richard Glossip, Benjamin Cole, Richard Fairchild, John Hanson and Scott Eizember were scheduled, starting Aug. 25 with Coddington and followed on Sept. 22 with Glossip.

Glossip, whose first conviction and death sentence was overturned, was hours from being executed in September 2015 following a second conviction and death sentence when prison officials realized they had received the wrong lethal drug. It was later learned the same wrong drug had been used previously to execute an inmate, and executions in the state were put on hold.

Executions in Oklahoma resumed in October with John Grant, who convulsed on the gurney and vomited before being declared dead. Glossip’s attorney Don Knight said he planned to file for a new hearing later Friday based on an investigation by a Houston law firm that contends Glossip is innocent.

“We respectfully disagree with the decision of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set an execution date for Richard Glossip before the findings of the (report) … and new evidence of his innocence, can be heard in a court of law,” Knight said in a statement.

We implore the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to strike Richard Glossip’s execution date until this new information can be fully considered,” Knight said.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor asked the state appeals court in June to set execution dates for 25 death row inmates following a federal judge’s rejection of their challenge to the state’s lethal injection method.

The dates are each about one month apart. Glossip’s scheduled execution would be followed by those of convicted killers Benjamin Cole, Richard Fairchild, John Hanson and Scott Eizember.

Regarding the scheduling Attorney General John O’Connor said, “Today, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set execution dates in six cases involving the murders of eight individuals: Albert Hale, Barry Van Treese, Brianna Cole, Adam Broomhall, Mary Bowles, Jerald Thurman, and A.J. and Patsy Cantrell.

“The earliest of these murders was committed in 1993, and the most recent was in 2003.

“The family members of these loved ones have waited decades for justice.  They are courageous and inspiring in their continued expressions of love for the ones they lost.  My office stands beside them as they take this next step in the journey that the murderers forced upon them.

“Oklahomans overwhelmingly voted in 2016 to preserve the death penalty as a consequence for the most heinous murders.  I’m certain that justice and safety for all of us drove that vote.”

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