OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma executed a death row inmate Thursday for the torture killing of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in 1993, the third execution in the US over a two-day stretch.
The convicted child killer, Richard Fairchild, was executed Thursday morning by lethal injection on the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Fairchild was declared dead at 10:25 a.m.
He was put to death for murdering his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son, Adam Broomhall, at their Del City home in 1993. Fairchild turned 63 the day he was executed.
“Today is a day for Adam,” Fairchild said as a part of his final words. “Justice for Adam.”
Fairchild’s message given together with his final words centered around remorse for his crime, gratitude to those that helped him throughout his life, and a career of religion in God. He apologized to Adam’s family, specifically the boy’s mother and grandmother, and alluded to the guilt he felt for the crime saying, “I’ve lived 29 years with this.”
For Brandi Anthony and Michael Hurst, Adam’s aunt and uncle, the execution was the culmination of nearly 30 years spent hoping Fairchild would face consequences for his actions.
“Our long journey for justice has finally arrived,” Hurst said.
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Fairchild’s execution was the seventh lethal injection on the Oklahoma State Penitentiary since 2021. Since then, Oklahoma has carried out more executions than the state of Texas, which has executed probably the most people in comparison with some other state since 1976.
Greater than half of the 40 people currently on Oklahoma’s death row have execution dates scheduled over the following two years after the state Court of Criminal Appeals issued a moratorium in 2015 following a botched execution and two drug mix-ups within the death chamber.
Fairchild’s execution was the sixteenth within the U.S. this 12 months and the third over a two-day stretch — including one in Texas and one in Arizona on Wednesday. An execution was also scheduled for later Thursday in Alabama, but was halted after a series of court decisions delayed the execution.
After Thursday, three more executions are scheduled within the U.S. for the rest of 2022 — one each in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Idaho, in accordance with the Death Penalty Information Center.
What did Richard Fairchild do?
Before the killing, Fairchild drank all day with the boy’s mother, in accordance with court records. Later that night at his girlfriend’s home, when the kid woke up crying and wet the bed, Fairchild began to beat the boy and later burned each side of the kid’s body by pressing him against a furnace.
Later, Fairchild threw the 24-pound child right into a dining table, knocking him into an unconscious state from which he never awoke. The boy was determined to have died from blunt force trauma to the pinnacle but suffered 26 individual blows to the body.
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Julie Pittman, who’s Attorney General John O’Connor’s general counsel, told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board in October, “Fairchild was Adam’s jury, judge and executioner.”
“(Adam’s) crime? He wet the bed,” Pittman said.
The Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to disclaim Fairchild clemency, despite arguments from his attorney that he had suffered a lifetime of traumatic brain injuries, which, combined with drug and alcohol use, led him to the actions that occurred that night.
“Richie was a superb father,” attorney Tricia Russell said. “This was a one-off (incident).”
A late, legal filing
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals refused Thursday to remain Fairchild’s execution despite recent questions on his mental competency. His attorney, Emma Rolls, asked for the stay Wednesday after an investigator reported he “was completely out of touch with reality.”
Judges voted 5-0 to reject the stay. The U.S. Supreme Court also refused Thursday to stop the execution.
“Justice is now served for Adam and the people of Oklahoma,” O’Connor said. “This doesn’t bring Adam back to his family and nothing can fill the void left by the lack of a loved one. Our hearts and prayers are with Adam’s family.”
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Opposition regarding executions
The death penalty within the U.S. has seen waning support in recent times across all political parties.
About 6 in 10 Americans favor the death penalty, in accordance with the General Social Survey, a serious trends survey conducted by NORC on the University of Chicago. While a majority proceed to specific support for the death penalty, the share has declined steadily for the reason that Nineties, when nearly three-quarters were in favor.
Fairchild’s execution also got here at a time when greater than two dozen Christian clergy are calling for a moratorium on the death penalty in Oklahoma.
Paul S. Coakley, the archbishop of Oklahoma City, voiced his opposition following Fairchild’s execution.
“This archaic practice has been consistently imposed within the name of justice or the protection of society at large, but all it does is deprive the condemned of their innate human dignity,” Coakley said in a press release. “The death penalty only serves to perpetuate the cycle of violence without healing the injuries of grief and loss.”
The Rev. Don Heath, the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty chair, took issue with Oklahoma executing a person with alleged mental health issues, and a military veteran like Fairchild.
“We shouldn’t should delay signs on the road that say, ‘Don’t Kill the Mentally Ailing’ and ‘Stop Executing Veterans,'” Heath wrote in a press release. “Oklahoma is ruled by individuals with hard hearts. Richard Fairchild was a beloved child of God. I hope that he’s now at peace.”
Contributing: The Associated Press