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Oklahoma executes Phillip Hancock despite clemency recommendation

Phillip Hancock
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Phillip Hancock

Despite a recommendation of clemency from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, the state executed its fourth and final death row inmate of 2023 on Thursday morning.

59-year-old Phillip Hancock was executed via lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester and pronounced dead at 11:29 a.m. on Thursday.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-2 to recommend clemency for Hancock, but Gov. Kevin Stitt rejected the recommendation on the morning of the execution. Stitt has only granted clemency once — in the case of Julius Jones in 2021.

Hancock was found guilty of the 2001 murders of Robert Jett and James Lynch. He claimed he acted in self-defense.

In his clemency hearing, Hancock’s attorneys went over details supporting his claim he killed the two men in self-defense, including a video from a police questioning of a witness saying Jett was the aggressor.

Two Republican state lawmakers — Kevin McDugle and Justin Humphrey — also appeared at the hearing to ask for his clemency, saying Oklahomans value self-defense.

This was the eleventh execution in the state since the moratorium on the death penalty ended in 2021.

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Updated: November 30, 2023 at 3:01 PM CST
Hannah France is a reporter and producer for KGOU.
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