OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has denied clemency for death row inmate James Coddington, which means his execution will move forward as scheduled Thursday morning. But it doesn’t come without pushback, as protesters marched into Stitt’s office Wednesday, asking him to honor the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation of clemency for Coddington.

The governor wasn’t available, but the protesters left a petition with his receptionist that had 6,000 signatures on it demanding the death penalty be abolished in Oklahoma.

Protestors in Gov. Stitt’s office. Image KFOR.

“We’re very disturbed by the fact that our state is about to execute 25 people,” said Oklahoma Conference of Churches Executive Director Reverend Dr. Shannon Fleck as she handed the petition to the receptionist. “In our opinion, that is state-sanctioned killing. We want to make sure he receives this petition which is signed by over 6,000 people just in the last few days… with a vast number of signatures who find this appalling and disturbing and too much for a state that leans so heavily on faith-based morals.”

Oklahoma plans to execute 24 other inmates in the next two-and-a-half years.

Governor Stitt denied the parole board’s clemency recommendation for Coddington on Wednesday, after “thoroughly reviewing arguments and evidence presented by all sides of the case.”

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.”

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

His attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Emma Rolls, claimed he’s remorseful and a changed man, saying in a statement Wednesday, “While we are profoundly disheartened by this decision, we appreciate the pardons board’s careful consideration of James Coddington’s life and case. The Board’s clemency recommendation acknowledged James’s sincere remorse and meaningful transformation during his years on death row.”

Coddington’s execution will be carried out at 10 a.m. on Aug. 25 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.