OKLAHOMA – Attorney General seeks execution date for death row inmate – Gary Allen


September 27, 2012 http://www.sfgate.com

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt asked a state appeals court Thursday to set an execution date for a man convicted of fatally shooting his fiancée almost 26 years ago.

Pruitt filed the request with the Court of Criminal Appeals a day after a federal judge rejected Gary Thomas Allen‘s request for a hearing on his claim that he is mentally incompetent and ineligible for the death penalty.

U.S. District Judge David Russell ruled Wednesday that Allen, 56, had not shown that a jury impanelled in 2008 acted unreasonably when it found him sane enough to be executed. Russell also lifted a stay that postponed Allen’s most recent execution date.

Pruitt said Russell’s ruling concludes Allen’s court appeals. “After a thorough review of this case, my office has concluded that the execution should be carried out,” the attorney general said.

Allen’s attorney, Randy Bauman, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Allen was convicted and sentenced to death for the November 1986 murder of Lawanna Gail Titsworth in the parking lot of an Oklahoma City day care. Titsworth, 24, had moved out of the home she shared with Allen and their two sons four days before her death.

Court documents indicate the two were arguing when Allen shot Titsworth twice in the chest. Titsworth ran with a center employee toward the building, but Allen pushed the worker away, shoved Titsworth down some steps and shot her twice in the back at close range, records show.

A police officer responding to a 911 call tussled with Allen before shooting him in the face, according to court documents. Allen was hospitalized for about two months for treatment of injuries to his face, left eye and brain.

Allen entered a blind plea of guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced by a judge to die. But Allen’s attorneys have argued he was not competent enough to enter the plea.

A district judge in Pittsburg County stayed Allen’s original May 19, 2005, execution date after a psychological examination at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary indicated Allen had developed mental problems. The U.S. Constitution forbids the execution of inmates who are insane or mentally incompetent.

Three years later, a 12-member jury rejected Allen’s argument that he should not be put to death. Last December, the Oklahoma Appeals court ruled that an appeal of that decision was not authorized by law. The court said there is no procedure in state law to appeal a finding that a person facing execution is sane.

The state Pardon and Parole Board had voted in April 2005 to recommend that Allen’s death sentence be commuted to life without parole. That clemency recommendation wasn’t acted on until this year, when Gov. Mary Fallin denied it.

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