OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma death row inmate who beat a senior citizen to death with a hammer was granted a stay of execution Thursday.
The U.S. District Court of the Western District of Oklahoma ordered a stay of execution for James Allen Coddington, who was to be put to death on March 10, 2022.
Coddington’s execution is to be stayed until the U.S. District Court makes a final judgment on his claims.
The State of Oklahoma filed a notice with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Aug. 25, notifying the court that it was appropriate to set an execution date for Coddington, according to the U.S. District Court document ordering the stay of execution.
State officials said in the notice that there was no longer any legal impediments to the execution because of a previous judgement against a stay of execution request from Coddington. Officials said he refused to name an alternative method of execution to the one he was challenging, a controversial three-drug cocktail that includes Midazolam and has in the past caused excruciating pain for death row inmates as they were being executed.
The Court of Criminal Appeals entered an order on Sept. 20, setting execution dates for Oklahoma death row inmates, and noted that judgement was granted in full against Coddington’s “challenges in federal court to the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol,” and that Coddington “exhausted [his] state and federal appeals and no further legal impediments to [his] execution remain,” according to the District Court document.
His execution was set for March 10.
The U.S. District Court vacated the Criminal Court of Appeals’ judgment on Oct. 12, finding that Coddington thought he had effectively communicated his choice of a firing squad as his alternative method of execution.
The District Court’s explanation for staying the execution is as follows:
“Given the unique circumstances of this situation and in light of the pending litigation before this Court in the above-captioned matter, to which Mr. Coddington has been restored, the parties stipulate to stay Mr. Coddington’s execution date of March 10, 2022.
The parties stipulate that any such stay should remain in effect until final judgment is entered in this matter as to Mr. Coddington’s claims but no earlier than through and including the March 10, 2022 execution date. Should final judgment in this matter be entered against Mr. Coddington, the parties agree that the State of Oklahoma may notify both this Court and the OCCA as to the appropriateness of once again setting Mr. Coddington’s execution date.”
Coddington was convicted and sentenced to death for beating 73-year-old Albert Troy Hale to death with a hammer in 1997.