OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt announced 25 out of 43 death row inmates are set to be executed in the next 29 months with the first being James Coddington on August 25.

In 1997, then 73-year-old Albert Hale was beaten with a claw hammer at least five times, resulting in his death.

Coddington confessed to killing his co-worker and friend whom he had known for about three years, according to an Independent Medical Evaluation conducted in 1998.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections photo of James Coddington, provided by his attorney, Emma Rolls.

The evaluation went on to report Coddington was on a cocaine binge and was asking to borrow money from Hale to buy more cocaine.

“When Mr. Hale refused to lend him money, and pointed out that he needed help with his drug addiction, [Coddington] killed [Hale] by striking him in the head with a hammer,” the evaluation states.

Coddington was then convicted in 2003 and sentenced to death for the murder of Hale.

Coddington’s original execution date was set for March 10, 2022, but a stay of execution was granted.

With there being just over a month until Coddington’s Aug. 25 execution date, his attorney, Emma Rolls has submitted a clemency packet as of July 15.

The packet is 139 pages long and is filled with details on Coddington’s previous drug and alcohol addiction, the abuse he endured as a child, and the murder of Hale. The packet can be found on this Google document.

Rolls said none of those things are who Coddington is today, though.

Rolls told KFOR to understand this plea for clemency, Coddington’s story needs to be told.

Rolls said Coddington was born to parents who were drug addicts and alcoholics.

“When he was just a few weeks old, his mother was sent to prison and he was left in the care of his violent and alcoholic father,” she said.

When Coddington was a baby, his father and older brothers put whiskey and beer in his baby bottles, according to Rolls.

In a testimony Coddington’s older half-brother gave, he confirmed this statement and said they’d do so because they “thought it was funny the way he [Coddington] would act, and he would get a buzz.”

Coddington also grew up in a house that was “very poor and that the house was definitely a hazardous environment,” according to a Department of Human Services report.

Because Coddington was said to have lived in an “economically depressed” area, “He was surrounded by drugs and violence, and although the adults in his life always found a way to get alcohol and drugs, they could not provide for the basic needs for James. They couldn’t even provide food. And when there was no food in the house, James was forced to eat from dumpsters behind fast food restaurants when he was just a boy,” stated Rolls.

In addition to Coddington’s early exposure to drugs and alcohol, Roll said he was abused at the hands of his father, that his father would leave “welts” all over his body from belt beatings and would frequently throw him against walls.

“Under these circumstances, I think it’s hardly surprising that James succumbed to addiction by age seven. He was already huffing paint by age 11. His older brothers had introduced him to cocaine, and by 15 he was already strung out on cocaine, mainlining the drug,” added Rolls.

Despite his upbringing, Rolls said Coddington has become an exemplary prisoner. “He is a changed man. He is a mature, caring, hardworking and respectful prisoner.”

During Coddington’s time in prison, he has earned his GED, devoted his time to loved ones and fellow prisoners, and earned the “coveted” job of unit orderly where he would distribute food, paint units and clean.

In the clemency packet, correctional officers and family members have given statements shedding light on Coddington’s “good behavior.”

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Chairman, the Rev. Don Heath, also stands behind the clemency packet and said he will continue fighting for Coddington’s clemency.

“Dr. King said, ‘Violence begets violence.’ That’s the moral standard that we aspire to. Justice takes place when a person is held accountable for their actions. Justice was achieved when James Coddington was pronounced guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of Albert Hale,” said Heath.

Heath added that to have justice is to include mercy as an essential element. He said Coddington has shown remorse and has repented his sins.

Coddington isn’t the only death row inmate Heath plans to stand behind, though. He told KFOR he will fight for the other 24 inmates set to be executed in the next 29 months.

“We will resist each and every one of the executions. We will attend every pardon and parole board hearing. We will do what we can to get each and every one of those men’s stories out. We’ll hold a vigil for them if the execution actually goes through. We’ll try to visit them if they want to be visited,” said Heath.

Coddington’s clemency hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 26 at 9 a.m. at the Kate Barnard Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City.

“The death penalty is supposed to be reserved for the very worst of the worst murderers. We are asking for mercy for James Coddington. We fervently hope the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board and Gov. Stitt will grant him the clemency that he deserves,” said Rolls.

Rolls is hoping Coddington will be granted a reduced sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Coddington is scared and nervous for the hearing, according to Rolls.

His fiancé, Angela Merrell, declined an on camera interview, but told KFOR she is nervous for the hearing as well.

If clemency is denied, Rolls told KFOR there is potential litigation on the lethal injection case, but she couldn’t say more than that.