An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  - Gandhi

Press release: Coalition Urges Governor to Reconsider Denial of Clemency Recommended by Pardon and Parole Board

News Conference–State Capitol–Press Room #430
Monday, April 2, 2012 11:00 am

OK-CADP is asking citizens to call the Governor’s Office
(405-521-2342) to grant clemency for Garry Allen

Sign Petition

Oklahoma City – The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) will hold a news conference Monday, April 2, at 11 a.m. in the State Capitol, 4th Floor Press Room to announce they are asking Governor Mary Fallin to reconsider her denial of clemency for Garry Thomas Allen.

In 2005, the Pardon and Parole Board carefully considered all factors and supported clemency by an unusually strong 4-1 vote. The governor is urged to give full weight to this Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation.

“On March 13 Gov. Fallin denied clemency and set April 12, 6:00 pm for Garry Allen’s execution,” said Lydia Polley, OK-CADP Co-Chair. “We are respectfully and urgently asking her to reconsider this decision. Commuting his death sentence to life without parole achieves primary objectives of the criminal justice system: public protection, capital punishment, and faith in the system. Governor Fallin has legal, humanitarian, and Christian-faith basis for this action. Mr. Allen’s severely limited mental capacity, extreme physical & mental deterioration from a bullet fired by police, AND an unprecedented 4-1 clemency recommendation from the Pardon & Parole Board enlivens our request.”

Speakers for the news conference include Reverend Adam Leathers, United Methodist Church; Kenny Fikes, OK-CADP Co-Chair; Constance Johnson, Oklahoma Senator; Garland Pruitt, President Oklahoma City Branch NAACP; and Lydia Polley, OK-CADP Co-Chair. Allen’s daughter, Chandra Allen and his granddaughter Jasmine Allen will be present.

Even though he has no recollection of the crime, either as a result of extreme intoxication and/or being shot in the head when apprehended, the Allen family said Garry has deep seated and long-standing remorse for the actions he was told, and accepts, he committed.

The key reason for setting aside the death penalty for Garry Allen is the issue of culpability. Since Garry Allen was sentenced to death, the United States Supreme Court has prohibited use of the death penalty in two cases of limited culpability: Juveniles and Mentally Retarded capital murderers.

Allen’s attorneys have argued that he was mentally impaired when he killed 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth, the mother of his two children, on Nov. 21, 1986, in Oklahoma City. They say he had been self-medicating for an underlying mental illness, and that his mental condition had only gotten worse.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to recommend commuting Allen’s sentence to life. But before the governor at the time, Brad Henry, had a chance to act on the board’s recommendation, a Pittsburg County judge issued a stay after a prison psychological exam determined Allen had developed mental problems on death row. The doctor’s report noted Allen had dementia caused by seizures, drug abuse and his gunshot wound.

Jasmine Allen, granddaughter of Garry Allen said, “Our efforts to persuade Governor Fallin to reconsider this decision are in full swing, with calls, letters, petitions to the Governor, letters to editors, news conference, etc. My mother and I want to thank the OK-CADP, our friends and the public, for any energy, prayers, and assistance they can send our way.”

In 1986, a police officer responding to a 911 call struggled 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 was initially declared incompetent to proceed to trial and treated for over 4 months at a mental hospital after being diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia. He spoke of hearing voices and seeing visions. Just ten days later, a new doctor wrote to the court that Allen had been restored to competency.

Neuropsychological evidence of Allen’s brain damage was omitted from the factors that determined sentencing. A competency jury deemed Allen competent under a standard of proof subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that executing people with mental retardation violates the Constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual” punishment.

“Garry T. Allen is not a threat to his fellow prisoners or prison workers, and should serve the remainder of his life in an appropriate state facility. The State of Oklahoma should not execute this mentally ill and remorseful man,” said Fikes. “In Mr. Allen’s case, guilt is not an issue. The issue is Mr. Allen’s mental competency and condition. We are standing with Mr. Allen’s family in requesting that our Governor please give credence to the recommendation of the State’s Pardon and Parole Board: which is to grant clemency in this case.”

Barring this act of mercy and caution by Gov. Mary Fallin, Garry Thomas Allen – 56 year old son, father, grandfather and death row prisoner – will be executed at 6 p.m., on Thursday, April 12, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.


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