Judge denies Oklahoma death row inmate’s request for stay of execution

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A federal judge has denied one Oklahoma death row inmate’s bid for a stay of execution.

On Monday morning, attorneys for death row inmate Bigler Stouffer asked a federal judge for a stay of execution due to an upcoming trial in February that will challenge whether Oklahoma’s execution protocol is constitutional. 

The controversy surrounds the first drug in Oklahoma’s three-drug cocktail, Midazolam

Back on October 28th, media witnesses who watched the execution of John Marion Grant described vomiting and convulsing after Midazolam was administered.  

During testimony at the hearing on Monday, the state called an anesthesiologist, who also witnessed Grant’s execution, to the stand. 

He used the word regurgitating instead of vomiting and said it wasn’t a surprise, blaming it on a full stomach that Grant likely had from his last meal that morning. 

Instead of using the word convulsing, he said Grant’s body “rocked” up and down, which he called normal, adding that Midazolam would not cause the inmate to be in pain. 

Stouffer’s execution is scheduled for December 9th

Stouffer was convicted of killing Putnam City school teacher Linda Reaves in 1985. 

Linda Reaves
Linda Reaves

During his clemency hearing last week, Stouffer’s defense said the state had no physical evidence pointing to Stouffer without Ivens’ testimony. 

The state argued Stouffer has changed his story multiple times.

The Pardon and Parole board voted 3-2 to recommend commuting his sentence to life without the possibility of parole.

That recommendation is still on Governor Stitt’s desk. He will make the final decision.

Now, a federal judge has ruled Stouffer’s execution should be able to take place.

Stouffer’s attorneys are filing an appeal following today’s ruling.

“Bigler ‘Bud’ Stouffer chose violence to solve his problems. His choices resulted in the death of Linda Reaves and caused debilitating injuries for Douglas Ivens. They were two innocent victims. It can be difficult to understand why Jesus calls us to pray and be merciful for people like Stouffer, but Jesus asks us to be better. He shows us the way and empowers us to find compassion in our hearts, even for the guilty. We need to rethink capital punishment in Oklahoma; to make a better choice that affirms the dignity of all human life and provides an opportunity for redemption.”  

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

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