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Oklahoma executes Richard Rojem after 40 years on death row

Richard Norman Rojem Jr.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Richard Norman Rojem Jr.

Rojem was sentenced to death for the murder of his seven-year-old former stepdaughter in the 1980s. He was denied a recommendation of clemency earlier this month.

66-year-old Richard Rojem was executed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester via lethal injection on Thursday. His time of death was 10:16 a.m.

Rojem was convicted of the 1984 kidnapping, rape, and murder of his former stepdaughter, Layla Cummings. Rojem had been sentenced to death for the murder three separate times — his first two convictions were thrown out due to trial errors, but he was given the death penalty for the third time by a Custer County jury in 2007.

This was the state’s second execution of 2024, following the execution of Michael DeWayne Smith in April. There are no more executions scheduled for this year, and moving forward they will be scheduled with 90 day intervals.

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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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