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Oklahoma executes Richard Fairchild, the seventh death row inmate to be killed since the state resumed capital punishment

richardfairchild.jpg
Oklahoma Department Of Corrections
Richard Stephen Fairchild

Updated: November 17 at 11:30 a.m.

For the fifth time in 2022 and just the seventh time in nearly eight years, Oklahoma has executed a death row inmate.

Richard Stephen Fairchild was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 10:24 a.m. Thursday morning. He's the seventh death row inmate to be killed since the state resumed capital punishment in October 2021 after a six-year moratorium. He was 63.

Fairchild was convicted in the 1993 murder of his girlfriend's three-year-old son, Adam Broomhall. The beating death happened after a heavy night of drinking by Fairchild and the victim's mother, Stacy Broomhall.

Prosecutors reported the victim had 26 bruises on his body as well as burns across his chest and buttocks after Fairchild held him against a wall furnace, so he would stop screaming.

Sandra Stensaas, an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County at the time, called it "the worst case of child abuse I have ever seen.

Five media members were selected by a random draw to witness the execution: Sean Murphy (Associated Press), Reagan Ledbetter (News On 6), Adria Goins (KFOR), David Dishman (The Oklahoman) and Alyse Jones (KOCO).

The witnesses didn’t note any major issues with the execution. Fairchild did express remorse in his final words, and apologized to the victim’s family.

The victim’s uncle and aunt, Michael Hurst and Brandi Anthony, spoke after the execution.

“Our long journey for justice has finally arrived,” Hurst said. “Adam would have been 34 today, so this is his day. From here on out, the narrative is going to be about him and not Mr. Fairchild.”

The family members said they were surprised by Fairchild’s remorseful words and believed it to be sincere.

Oklahoma has one more execution scheduled this year, and 22 total before the end of 2024.


ORIGINAL POST

Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Fairchild is set to be executed on Thursday morning. He was denied clemency by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month.

Fairchild is on death row for the 1993 murder of his girlfriend's three-year-old son, Adam Broomhall. The beating death happened after a heavy night of drinking by Fairchild and the victim's mother, Stacy Broomhall.

Prosecutors reported the victim had 26 bruises on his body as well as burns across his chest and buttocks after Fairchild held him against a wall furnace, so he would stop screaming.

Sandra Stensaas, an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County at the time, called it "the worst case of child abuse I have ever seen."

Fairchild's attorneys say his abusive childhood and the multiple brain injuries he sustained both as a boxer and in the military contributed to the brutality of the murder. At his clemency hearing, neuropsychologist Dr. Barry Crown testified to Fairchild’s diagnosis of schizophrenia, which has worsened over the years.

More than two dozen Christian clergy are calling for a moratorium on the death penalty in Oklahoma. Former Pardon and Parole Board member Adam Luck also signed onto the statement, which claims the death penalty conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Fairchild, who turns 63 on Thursday, is the third in a string of dozens of death row inmates scheduled for execution over the next two years. Those executions were scheduled after a federal judge ruled in June that Oklahoma's controversial three-drug lethal injection protocol is constitutional.

A torturous history

For years, executions in Oklahoma have been gruesome and filled with protocol violations.

In October 2021, in the state's first execution in seven years, John Grant convulsed and vomited repeatedly after being administered the three-drug cocktail. But, since then, the executions of five inmates — Bigler Stouffer, Donald Grant, Gilbert Postelle, James Coddington and Benjamin Cole — were all reported by witnesses to happen without any complications.

Executions had been on pause in Oklahoma following the near-execution of Richard Glossip in 2015, and the botched lethal injections of Charles Warner in 2015 and Clayton Lockett in 2014.

Glossip was scheduled to die in September 2015, but then-Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued a last-minute stay of execution after it was discovered the Department of Corrections received a shipment of potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride, as required in the state's execution protocol.

A few months ago, Glossip had his scheduled execution halted for a fourth time, as the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed a request for a new hearing. The court denied his claim, and Glossip is now scheduled to die on Feb. 16, 2023.

An autopsy report revealedthe state used the wrong drug — again, potassium acetate — to execute Warner in January 2015. According to witnesses, Warner said, "It feels like acid," and "My body is on fire" while being given the three-drug cocktail.

Lockett's April 2014 execution was also botched.A report issued after his death found that after trying for 51 minutes to find a vein, a phlebotomist misplaced the IV line intended to deliver the lethal cocktail of drugs directly into Lockett's bloodstream. Instead, the cocktail was delivered to the surrounding tissue.

Lockett writhed on the gurney and mumbled before being pronounced dead 43 minutes after the procedure began. An investigation later revealed that the faulty insertion of the intravenous line and lack of training of the execution team contributed to the problems.

In January 2014, Oklahoma executed Michael Lee Wilson by lethal injection. Shortly after his execution started, Wilson's final words were, "I feel my whole body burning."

Updated: November 17, 2022 at 11:30 AM CST
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
Hannah France is a reporter and producer for KGOU.
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