Governor Brad Henry denies Clemency in Fields case - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Governor Brad Henry denies Clemency in Fields case

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Brad Henry rejected a clemency recommendation for Bobby Joe Fields, whose execution is scheduled this week for killing an Oklahoma City woman.

After reviewing the record and information presented at Fields' clemency hearing, ``I have determined that clemency should be denied in this case,'' Henry wrote in a letter to Stephanie Chappelle, chairwoman of the Pardon and Parole Board.

Fields is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening.

The board had voted 3-1 on Jan. 6 to recommend that clemency be granted Fields and that his sentence be commuted to life without parole.

The next day, outgoing Gov. Frank Keating granted a stay to allow time for Henry, who was inaugurated Jan. 13, to review the case and make the decision on whether Fields should be executed.

Since that time, Henry said he had looked at arguments and evidence and met with prosecutors and attorneys for Fields.

``Both sides were given the opportunity to submit information and make arguments both to me personally and to my legal staff,'' he said.

Press secretary Kym Koch said Henry, an attorney, viewed Fields' clemency hearing on videotape and asked ``a lot of questions'' of attorneys.

``It was a difficult decision,'' Koch said Monday. ``He looked at the history of all the appeals court decisions in the case and saw no court sentiment that the conviction should be overturned.''

It was the fifth time during Keating's eight years in office that the board had recommended clemency for a condemned killer.

Keating turned down the recommendation three times. He granted clemency for Phillip Dewitt Smith in March 2001.

During Keating's tenure, 50 people were executed, more than under any Oklahoma governor.

Fields, 39, pleaded guilty in 1994 and was sentenced to die for the 1993 killing of Louise Schem, 77, at her Oklahoma City home.

Prosecutors contended Fields took a .25 caliber weapon away from the woman and shot her after she caught him stealing a television set.

Defense attorneys argued the weapon accidentally discharged during a struggle.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Henry made the correct decision, saying no evidence was presented to justify the parole board's clemency recommendation.

``I appreciate the governor's careful consideration of this issue and see nothing that should stand in the way of this sentence being carried out,'' Edmondson said.
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