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

NAACP-OK and OK-CADP hosts rally at State Capitol calling for clemency for Garry Thomas Allen


Oklahoma City – A rally, co-sponsored by the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Oklahoma Chapter (NAACP-OK), will be held at the State Capitol second floor rotunda on Monday, November 5, 2012 at 3 p.m. calling for Governor Fallin to grant clemency to death row prisoner Garry Thomas Allen. Allen is to be executed by lethal injection, Tuesday, November 6, at 6:00 pm.

The purpose of this rally is to present the varied and strong rationales for Governor Mary Fallin to exercise her authority to grant clemency for this 56 year old, African American, son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, mentally impaired man who has been on death row for 25 years.

In spite of the fact that Garry Allen was initially declared mentally incompetent to go to trial for the murder of Lawanna Gail Titsworth, in 1986 and treated for chronic paranoid schizophrenia, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

The Associated Press later reported Allen’s mental competency was in question after a psychological exam at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary (OSP) indicated he had developed mental problems while confined on death row. The doctor’s report noted Allen had dementia caused by seizures, drug abuse and being shot in the face by police during his arrest.

Speakers include Rev. Donald Scruggs, Father’s House Christian Fellowship Church; State Senator Constance N. Johnson; Pastor Marlin J. Coleman, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Muskogee; Anthony Douglas, State President of NAACP-OK; Rev. Chris Moore, Associate Minister at Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC); and Rev. Dr. J. A. Reed, Fairview Missionary Baptist Church.

“We stand in firm resolve that Mr. Allen should not be held culpable for the crime he committed in 1986 due to being mentally impaired,” said Lydia Polley, OK-CADP co-chair. “His attorneys have stated that he had been self-medicating for an underlying mental illness, that he has no recollection of the crime and that his mental condition has continually deteriorated. Since he was sentenced to death, the United States Supreme Court has prohibited use of the death penalty in two cases of limited culpability for murderer: Juveniles and Mentally Retarded. We are now calling for Gov. Fallin to show mercy and grant clemency to Garry Thomas Allen due to his diminished capacity rendering him not culpable.”

Allen was scheduled for execution on March 7, 2005. This date was stayed until May 19, 2005. OK-CADP supported the Pardon & Parole Board’s clemency recommendation to Governor Henry in 2005 with letters, phone calls and an all-day Clemency Vigil-Pray In. Legal appeals continued.

He was next scheduled for death by lethal injection on Feb 16, 2012, and again, on April 12, 2012. OK-CADP held a press conference, delivered approximately 6,000 petition signatures and pleaded with Governor Fallin to grant clemency, which was denied. Legal appeals continued.

Now for the fifth time Garry Thomas Allen faces death at the hands of the State of Oklahoma on November 6, 6:00 p.m. During these 25 years in total isolation in the H Unit at Oklahoma State Prison, McAlester, Allen’s mental condition has deteriorated further.

“The ACLU of Oklahoma strongly supports the Coalition’s call for clemency in Garry Allen’s case,” said Brady Henderson, ACLU-OK Legal Director. “When Oklahoma’s Pardon & Parole Board voted 4 to 1 to recommend commuting his sentence to life without parole, they showed courage that unfortunately went unmatched by Governor Fallin. While Allen’s long battle with mental illness makes his planned execution even more troubling than most, the truth is that there is no such thing as an appropriate candidate for capital punishment. That is why our support for the Coalition’s efforts goes far beyond Gary Allen’s case.”

It is an acknowledged fact that Garry Allen has serious mental health issues, presently, and at the time of the murder. His attorneys, his family, supporters, and OK-CADP believe that his mental capacity renders him not culpable.

“We hope to see a day when Oklahoma stops wasting critical resources and putting the families of both murder victims and defendants through years of uncertainty and pain merely to achieve a pitiful act of revenge dressed up as justice,” said Henderson. “If we, the people of Oklahoma truly want to demonstrate that killing is wrong, we need to stop doing it.”

Polley added, “We extend deep compassion for the victim, Gail Titsworth’s family and to the family of Mr. Allen, and hope they find solace for their minds and spirits.”

OK-CADP members requested a meeting with Gov. Fallin for Monday afternoon to again plead for the Governor to grant clemency to Allen. Their request was denied. Following the rally, at 4 p.m., Rev. Reed will call for rally supporters to gather at the Governor’s office. A civil disobedience action is expected to culminate in the arrest of death penalty abolitionists. Brian Newell and Brady Henderson of the ACLU of Oklahoma will be present to observe and report on the action.

Rev. Chris Moore said, “We stand on a stark line once again today and it is best summed up in the slogan, ‘Why do we kill people who kill people to show people that killing people is wrong?’ It is perhaps a trite slogan, but it demonstrates the break in logic and morality that the death penalty poses…In the Bible, justice is about wholeness, not just vengeance. This is why God calls out to us in more than one place in our scripture, ‘Vengeance is mine’.”

Barring this act of mercy by Gov. Fallin, Garry Thomas Allen will be executed at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, November 6, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

OK-CADP is asking for citizens to urge Governor Fallin to grant clemency for Garry Thomas Allen. Contact Governor Fallin by writing to the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, or call 405-521-2342 or 918-581-2801. For more information visit


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