OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Two members of the state’s five-person Pardon and Parole Board left their positions this week.  

“The Pardon and Parole Board deals with people’s lives, especially when it comes to death row,” said Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow. “It’s a heavy lift.” 

Chairman Richard Smothermon and member Cathy Stocker are now free of the task, as both attended their last board meeting on Tuesday. 

In his resignation letter, Smothermon said his decision was based “on a variety of factors and comes only after much thought and prayer.” While Stocker wrote in hers that the job wasn’t “a good fit” with the rest of her life obligations. 

“People need to understand that it is hard, emotionally taxing work,” said Tom Bates, the director of the Pardon and Parole Board. 

Earlier this month, Governor Kevin Stitt appointed former District Attorney Kevin Buchanan to replace Stocker, leaving one empty seat on the five-person board. 

“We are awaiting the appointment of Richard Smothermon’s replacement, that will come from the Oklahoma Supreme Court,” said Bates. 

The departures come months after Oklahoma’s most famous death row inmate Richard Glossip filed a lawsuit, arguing his clemency hearing in April should be void because it wasn’t fair. 

In April, Smothermon recused himself from the hearing because of a conflict of interest. The remaining members split 2-2, meaning Glossip didn’t get the majority he needed to be granted clemency. Stocker voted against it. 

“It really put Richard at an extreme disadvantage,” said Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane. “The justice system is supposed to work the same for everybody and everybody else gets five people.”

Currently, Glossip is awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to see if he’ll get a retrial because of alleged misconduct during his initial prosecution.

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However, if the Supreme Court rules against him… 

“It’s possible that he could get another hearing in front of the Pardon and Parole Board,” said Rep. McDugle. 

That hearing would be in front of two new board members. 

“I think, absolutely this is a huge game changer,” said Rep. Humphrey. 

The next scheduled clemency hearing will be in November for Phillip Hancock.

Bates says he expects that Smothermon’s replacement will be picked well before then.