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Oklahoma executes Scott Eizember, the eighth death row inmate to be killed since the state resumed capital punishment

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Oklahoma Department Of Corrections
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Scott Dean Eizember

Updated: Jan. 12 at 11:00 a.m.

For the first time in 2023 and the eighth time in eight years, Oklahoma has executed a death row inmate.

Scott Dean Eizember was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 10:15 a.m. Thursday morning. He's the eighth death row inmate to be killed since the state resumed capital punishment in October 2021 after a six-year moratorium. He was 62.

Eizember was convicted in the 2003 beating death of 76-year-old A.J. Cantrell. He was also sentenced to 150 years in prison for the shooting death of 70-year-old Patsy Cantrell.

After killing the Cantrells, Eizember went on a lengthy crime spree, which included kidnapping and beating multiple people, and shooting and wounding a 16-year-old boy. “One of the largest manhunts” the state had ever seen ended after 37 days when Eizember was shot by one of the people he kidnapped and sought medical help for his injuries.

Oklahoma has 10 more executions scheduled this year, and 20 total before the end of 2024.

ORIGINAL POST:

Oklahoma death row inmate Scott Eizember is set to be executed Thursday morning. He was denied clemency by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board in December.

Eizember is on death row for the 2003 beating death of 76-year-old A.J. Cantrell. He also was sentenced to 150 years in prison for the shooting death of 70-year-old Patsy Cantrell.

Eizember, who was 42-years-old at the time, had broken into the Cantrell’s home in Depew, Okla. to spy on the house across the street, which belonged to the mother of Kathy Biggs, his ex-girlfriend. Eizember had a history of stalking Biggs, as he also burglarized her apartment, violated a protective order, bound her with duct tape and held a knife to her throat. Now, he believed she was hiding from him at her mother’s house.

After killing the Cantrells, Eizember went across the street, shooting and wounding Biggs’ 16-year-old son and beating Biggs’ 63-year-old mother.

For 37 days, Eizember led authorities on what was called “one of the largest manhunts” the state had ever seen, involving nearly 400 officers and support personnel. After hiding in the woods, hay bales and a church food pantry, Eizember eventually fled to Arkansas in a stolen car before running out of gas. A doctor and his family stopped to help, and he took them hostage and drove their van to Texas. Eizember was later shot by the doctor during a restroom break, and arrested while seeking medical help for his injuries.

In his recent clemency hearing, defense attorneys said Eizember grew up in an abusive home, and asked that he be allowed to remain in prison.

"I belong in prison," Eizember said. "I've said that right from the start. And I apologize profusely to all the victims."

Earlier this week, it was reported Eizember's clergy of record, Reverend Dr. Jeff Hood, would not be allowed to be with him at the time of his death.

In their denial of Hood's application, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said it was to prevent any outbursts from Hood, who has been arrested for nonviolent offenses at protests in other states in the past.

But on Wednesday, Hood's attorney Randall Coyne told KWGS that the agency and Hood came to an agreement that would allow Hood to minister to Eizember during the lethal injection.

Eizember is the next in a string of dozens of death row inmates scheduled for execution over the next two years.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Ryan LaCroix joined KOSU’s staff in 2013. He hosts All Things Considered, Oklahoma Rock Show, Oklahoma Rock Show: Rewind, and Oklahoma Music Minute.
Hannah France started her work in public radio at KBIA while studying journalism at the University of Missouri. While there, she helped develop and produce a weekly community call-in show, for which she and her colleagues won a Gracie Award. Hannah takes interest in a wide variety of news topics, which serves her well as a reporter and producer for KGOU.
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