Al Jazeera Documentary Goes Inside Oklahoma's Death Row

Wednesday, November 3rd 2010, 8:53 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

UNDATED -- A documentary about Oklahoma's death row has come from an unlikely source, Al Jazeera.

You've probably heard of the Al Jazeera Arabic channel that reports on the Muslim and Arab world. Al Jazeera English is also based in the Middle East, but has a bureau in Washington D.C. and covers all kinds of topics.

The reporter who made the documentary told News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright when the topic of the death penalty in America came up, he chose to focus on Oklahoma since we execute more prisoners per capita than any other state, so far, putting 173 men and three women to death.

The documentary takes viewers inside the walls of Big Mac, or the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, where H-unit is housed, or death row.

The reporter interviewed several familiar faces, including former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating.

"People who are vicious predators, who are sociopaths, who want to do nothing more than take what's theirs and take what's yours, deserve to be put to death, end of sentence, exclamation mark," Keating said.

Two Tulsa women who have become the face of pain and perseverance in the face of shocking crime were also interviewed.

Carol Sanders talked about her 15 year long court battle to see one of her daughter's murderers put to death. Laura Lee and her friend Michael were kidnapped and burned alive in the trunk of a car. Carol witnessed Scott Hain's execution.

"It was very peaceful, for him," she said. "I wish Loralee and Michael had died as peacefully."

Edith Shoals began Families of Murdered Children, after her daughter Lordette was shot and killed at a Tulsa convenience store in 1992. The killer, Eric Berry, was given life plus 30 years. She thinks he got off easy.

"He's still breathing. He has a life. My baby had a life. She was a 4.0 students going to Spartan and Career Point," she said. "Why does he deserve mercy and she don't?"

The documentary also focuses on an Oklahoma family whose son was executed, a state legislator, and a man released from death row due to DNA. The documentary looks at the moral and religious issues and how the Oklahoma City bombing changed our country's death penalty mindset.

There are currently 75 people on Oklahoma's death row.