Anti-death penalty group asks Okla. governor to reconsider clemency for man scheduled to die

april, 2 2012,  source :

OKLAHOMA CITY — An anti-death penalty group wants Gov. Mary Fallin to grant clemency to a man sentenced to die next week, and asked Monday that she give full weight to the Pardon and Parole Board’s 2005 recommendation to commute his sentence.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty encouraged the public Monday to write letters to the governor and sign the group’s petition. Coalition members argue that Garry Thomas Allen, 56, is mentally impaired and should not be put to death.

Allen killed the mother of his children, 42-year-old Lawanna Titsworth, on Nov. 21, 1986, in Oklahoma City. He was shot in the head during a struggle with an officer.

Fallin said she and her legal team gave Allen’s case a thorough review, including interviews with family members of the victim and attorneys on both sides, and she has no plans to change her decision.

“I took quite a long time looking through his files,” Fallin said. “I watched videos of him. I’ve read the files themselves. I’ve visited with his attorneys.”

Garland Pruitt, president of the Oklahoma City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, supported the anti-death penalty coalition at a news conference Monday at the state Capitol. The Rev. Adam Leathers and Sen. Constance Johnson also backed the group.

Leathers said executing Allen with his history of mental illness conflicts with Jesus’ promotion of life and healing. He said Allen is not a Christ figure, but talking about state-mandated execution at the close of Lent is ironic and reminds him of “barbaric crowds” that “once cried out ‘crucify him.'”

A personality test in Allen’s court file shows his “probable diagnosis is Schizophrenic Disorder, or Anxiety Disorder in a Paranoid Personality.”

Allen, who had a history of substance abuse, testified that before the day of the killing, he got drunk whenever he could.

“I can remember drinking a lot and I don’t even know if it was on that day, but I was drinking just about every day at that point,” he said.

The Pardon and Parole Board recommended 4-1 that the governor commute Allen’s sentence to life in prison without parole. But Fallin rejected the recommendation last month and ordered him to die April 12.

In 2008, jurors rejected Allen’s argument that he should not be put to death and decided he was sane enough to be executed.

Allen appealed, but the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in December concluded there is no procedure to appeal a finding that a person facing execution is sane.

Allen shot Titsworth four days after she moved out of the home where she lived with Allen and their two sons, according to court documents. Titsworth and Allen had fought in the week before the shooting and he tried to convince her to live with him again.

On the day of the killing, she went to a day care center to pick up her sons when Allen confronted her. She left with the boys and went into the parking lot, where employees and several children were, but Allen would not let her get into her truck. He reached into his sock and shot her twice in the chest with a revolver. She was able to run toward the day care, but Allen pushed her down some steps and shot her two times in the back.

An officer in the area responded to a 911 call and found Allen in an alley. Allen grabbed his gun and they struggled, according to court documents. Allen tried to make the officer shoot himself by squeezing his finger on the trigger, but the officer got control of the gun and shot Allen in the face.


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