The Pryor Times

State News

April 3, 2012

Group asks Fallin to reconsider clemency

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An anti-death penalty group wants Gov. Mary Fallin to grant clemency to a man sentenced to die next week, and asked Monday that she give full weight to the Pardon and Parole Board's 2005 recommendation to commute his sentence.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty encouraged the public Monday to write letters to the governor and sign the group's petition. Coalition members argue that Garry Thomas Allen, 56, is mentally impaired and should not be put to death.

Allen killed the mother of his children, 42-year-old Lawanna Titsworth, on Nov. 21, 1986, in Oklahoma City. He was shot in the head during a struggle with an officer.

Fallin said she and her legal team gave Allen's case a thorough review, including interviews with family members of the victim and attorneys on both sides, and she has no plans to change her decision.

"I took quite a long time looking through his files," Fallin said. "I watched videos of him. I've read the files themselves. I've visited with his attorneys."

Garland Pruitt, president of the Oklahoma City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, supported the anti-death penalty coalition at a news conference Monday at the state Capitol. The Rev. Adam Leathers and Sen. Constance Johnson also backed the group.

Leathers said executing Allen with his history of mental illness conflicts with Jesus' promotion of life and healing.

Allen, who had a history of substance abuse, testified that before the day of the killing, he got drunk whenever he could.

The Pardon and Parole Board recommended 4-1 that the governor commute Allen's sentence to life in prison without parole. But Fallin rejected the recommendation last month and ordered him to die April 12.

In 2008, jurors rejected Allen's argument that he should not be put to death and decided he was sane enough to be executed.

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