Death penalty opponents rally at the state capitol in Oklahoma City

Wednesday, February 23rd 2005, 5:43 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Death penalty opponents says Oklahoma's capital punishment system should be examined and innocent people have already been put to death.

Death penalty opponents and members of faith-based groups rallied outside the state Capitol Tuesday in support of a bill that would create a 13-member task force to determine whether any defendant convicted of fist-degree murder has been mistakenly put to death.

While he wouldn't say which inmate had been wrongly executed, Democrat Opio Toure says he believes an innocent person has been executed.

Toure says the state has the responsibility to identify innocent defendants and provide restitution to the family.

In 2003 Toure wrote legislation that was signed into law by Governor Brad Henry that allows citizens who are wrongly convicted and imprisoned to apply for up to $175,000 in compensation.

Oklahoma has executed 158 people, including three women, since 1915. Oklahoma led the nation in the number of executions in 2001 with 18. Oklahoma had 93 inmates on death row at the end of January.