OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Clark United Methodist Church placed 25 wooden crosses in front of their property on West 23rd Street to symbolize the 25 inmates that are scheduled for execution over the next couple of years.
One of those crosses is for James Coddington. He is scheduled to be executed on Thursday morning.
The plan is to paint each cross green or red, depending on whether clemency has been granted by Governor Kevin Stitt.
“If the execution continues and our governor does not change their heart and instead continues to contribute to this system of evil, we’ll be bathing that cross in red,” said Bo Ireland, pastor at Clark United Methodist.
On Wednesday, Stitt denied Coddington’s clemency recommendation from the Pardon and Parole Board. Stitt said he reviewed “arguments and evidence presented by all sides of the case.”
Thursday night, Coddington’s cross will be bathed in red.
Despite this week’s execution, the church will continue advocating to abolish the death penalty.
“So as much as our governor does have power, he doesn’t have the power of forgiveness,” said Ireland. “He doesn’t have the power of retribution. Those things reside within God.”
Oklahoma plans to execute 24 other inmates in the next two years.
John O’Connor, Oklahoma Attorney General, said in early August that he was disappointed in the Pardon and Parole Board’s vote to recommend clemency for James Coddington.
The vote was 3-2 in favor of clemency.
“Coddington bludgeoned Albert Hate, a 73-year-old United State Navy veteran, to death with a hammer on March 5, 1997, when Hale refused to give Coddington money to buy drugs,” said O’Connor, in a statement. “The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board hearing is not designed to be a substitute for a trial before a jury.”
This week, KFOR talked with Coddington’s attorney about the chances of clemency.
“He’s hopeful,” said Emma Roll, attorney for James Coddington. “But he understood that his life could end on Thursday, and he’s making those preparations as well.”
In a new statement Wednesday after the governor’s decision, Roll complimented the Pardon and Parole Board acknowledging Coddington’s guilt.
“The Board’s clemency recommendation acknowledged James’s sincere remorse and meaningful transformation during his years on death row,” said Rolls.