OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted Wednesday to recommend clemency for a death row inmate after questioning the state’s execution methods.
The board, by a 3-2 vote, recommended that Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt commute the sentence of Bigler Jobe Stouffer II, 79, to life without parole, despite several saying they were convinced of Stouffer's guilt.
Stouffer is scheduled for execution on Dec. 9.
Stitt spokesperson Charlie Hannema said the governor, who is considering a clemency recommendation for death row inmate Julius Jones, has no plans to comment.
The board noted that a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s three-drug lethal injection protocol is to begin in February and the Oct. 28 execution of John Marion Grant, in which Grant vomited and convulsed after the sedative midazolam was administered.
“The last four (executions) if you go back six or seven years now, well that process is obviously flawed. We've had individuals on the table suffering for 20 and 30 minutes," said board member Larry Morris, who voted for the clemency recommendation.
“I don't think that any humane society ought to be executing people that way, until we figure out how to do it right,” Morris said.
Board members said they are convinced of the guilt of Stouffer, who is not part of the federal lawsuit and maintained his innocence during a video appearance before the board.
Stouffer was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to die for the shooting death of Linda Reaves, the girlfriend of the estranged husband of Bigler’s girlfriend, after his first conviction and death sentence was overturned.
He was also convicted of shooting and wounding the estranged husband, Doug Ivens.
“I was not present when Linda Reaves was shot,” Stouffer said. “I am totally innocent of the murder of Linda Reaves and my heart goes out to the family of Linda Reaves that have suffered as a result of her murder.”
Stouffer said Ivens was shot as the two men fought over the gun.
Stouffer went to the home to borrow the gun from Ivens, then fatally shot Reaves and wounded Ivens in an attempt to gain access to Ivens’ $2 million life insurance policy, according to prosecutors.