OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Death penalty advocates say death row inmate Scott Eizember’s spiritual advisor will be able to attend Thursday’s execution after all.
Reverend Dr. Jeff Hood delivered a handwritten letter to Governor Stitt asking for intervention Tuesday after learning the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) banned him from the execution chamber.
ODOC told KFOR it wants to ensure the execution is carried out, citing Hood “has been arrested multiple times for outbursts in other states, demonstrating a disregard for the experiences of victims’ families.”
Hood and Eizember’s attorney also filed a suit to reverse that decision.
Now, that complaint has been withdrawn after ODOC Director Steven Harpe signed an agreement that will allow Hood to be present with Eizember in the death chamber when he is killed on Thursday morning.
“I count it a great honor to have fought for and secured the religious liberty of Scott Eizember and myself,” said Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, Clergy of Record to Scott Eizember and several other condemned Oklahoma prisoners. “While the struggle to abolish the death penalty continues, I take great satisfaction in knowing that the Department of Corrections of the State of Oklahoma will think twice before denying another pastor access to the execution chamber.”
ODOC says the reversal comes after speaking with the victims’ family.
““The family members of the victims in this case are ready for closure, and they understand that the lawsuit challenging the decision to deny chamber access to the activist could lead to Thursday’s execution being stayed,” Harpe said. “Far too often, it is the victim and the victim’s family who are overlooked in these cases. We want to make sure their concerns are heard instead of everything being solely about the inmate.”
Scott Eizember is scheduled to be executed Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. for the murders of AJ and Patsy Cantrell.