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As Investigation Continues, 2 More Death Row Inmates Wait For Execution Dates

Oklahoma death row inmates Jeremy Williams (left) and Richard Fairchild (right).
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Two death row inmates have exhausted their appeals, but won’t have execution dates set just yet as Oklahoma continues investigating what went wrong during two executions attempted in 2015.

On Friday the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued an order for stays of execution for Jeremy Williams and Richard Fairchild. The Court released that document to the public Monday.

Read the order issuing a stay from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals

Fairchild was sentenced to die for the 1993 child abuse murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son, and Williams was convicted of killing a Tulsa bank teller during a 2004 robbery. Both men are being held at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Two weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court denied the two inmates’ final appeals without comment.

As we reported in October, the Court issued an indefinite stay for the three remaining executions scheduled in 2015 after a mix-up over the drugs to be used in Richard Glossip’s execution. The state discovered the error just minutes before Glossip was set to die:

Gov. Mary Fallin issued a last minute stay of execution for Glossip when the DOC revealed they had obtained potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride. "Until my office knows more about these circumstances and gains confidence that DOC can carry out executions in accordance with the execution protocol, I am asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to issue an indefinite stay of all scheduled executions," Pruitt said in a written statement.

Autopsy records released days after the Court issued that October stay showed Charles Warner did receive the wrong drugs during his January 2015 execution. Warner’s lethal injection is the only one the state has carried out since the April 29, 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett, where he took more than 40 minutes to die after struggling on the gurney.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma’s revised execution protocol that uses potassium chloride to stop the heart.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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