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

Abolitionist Awards

The Annual Abolitionist Awards are given by OK-CADP to the individuals or organizations who demonstrate extraordinary effort to end the death penalty in Oklahoma.

The Phil Wahl Abolitionist of the Year Award has been presented each Spring at the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Annual Membership Dinner Meeting since 1990.  Phil Wahl, a retired United Methodist minister, served as a model of untiring work for abolishing the death penalty.  Any person is eligible who has worked diligently during the year to move us toward repealing the death penalty and discrediting it in the minds of both the public and legislature so reenactment is unlikely.

Lifetime Abolitionist Award has been presented since 2001.

The Opio Toure Courageous Advocate Award was established in 2008 to honor outstanding efforts by defense attorneys. It is named for the late Oklahoma state representative who received the Lifetime Award posthumously that year.

Past recipients:


Phil Wahl Award

Lifetime Award

Opio Toure Courageous Advocate

2012 Lydia Gill Polley, active OK-CADP Board Member, Chair several years. Rev. Bishop of the Salina, Kansas Diocese Edward Weisenburger, leading abolitionist as Monsignor of Our Lady’s Catholic Church
2010 – 2011 No awards presented No awards presented No awards presented
2009 Marilynn Knott, long time Board Member & Chair for 2 years Co-Recipients Martha Kendall Holmes, former Executive Director of NASW Oklahoma & active OK-CADP Board Member & Tedd Fulp, active OK-CADP Board Member who said “yes” to any task Mitch Solomon, a defense attorney who led a terrific team in securing less than death for a capital case.
2008 Jim Rowan Defense attorney who has defended over 130 felony trails including 3 that avoided the death penalty Opio Toure Awarded posthumously for his work as a defense attorney and legislator who unfailing authored bills every year against the death penalty. Marna Franklin & Perry Hudson who finalized efforts for freeing Curtis McCarty after 19 years on death row.
2007 (not awarded) Mark Barrett Defense attorney who has represented many persons facing the death penalty and many through the appeal process including Ron Williamson & Greg Willhoite who were exonerated.  
2006 Joann Bell Executive Director ACLU & lifetime activist against the death penalty Margaret CoxHuman rights activists  
2005 Bob Lambert Prison ministries Mark and Lenita Henrickson Attorneys for death row prisoners  
2004 Susan Sharp Professor OU/Author Rex Friend and Johnnie Carter Rex is an attorney who works for restorative justice, peace & human rights. Johnnie, grandmother of Kathy who was murdered in 1990, is a nationally known spokesperson for abolition  
2003 Shirley Cox Human rights activist Kevin Acers Human rights activist  
2002 Jim and Ann Fowler Activist parents of Mark Fowler who was executed Phil Wahl Retired Methodist Minister, abolitionist for whom our annual abolitionist award is named  
2001 Representative Opio Toure Oklahoma state house representative, criminal defense attorney Bill and Bea Martin Bill is a retired OCU professor and they are both active human rights advocates  
2000 Tom Gallagher Human rights activist
1999 Robert W. Jackson & Steven M. Presson, attorneys for Sean Sellers

Bud Welch, in memory of Julie Father of Oklahoma City Federal building bombing victim
1997 Scotty Moore Death row prisoner and human rights activist
1996 K. Leslie Delk Attorney
1995 Michael Johns Human rights activist
1994 Archbishop Charles A. Salatka Bishop Archdiocese of OKC, Roman Catholic Church
1993 Allen Hailey Student activist
1992 Sister Pat O’keefe Catholic human rights activist
1991 Randy Coyne, Human rights activist
1990 Tim Larason, attorney And Rev. Phil Wahl, United Methodist human rights activist