Oklahoma death row inmate James Coddington, 50, was executed on Thursday morning. It was just one day after the governor refused to commute his sentence despite a recommendation from the state’s Pardon and Parole Board that his life be spared.

The convicted Oklahoma murderer received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He was pronounced dead at 10.16 a.m., reported Fox News. Governor Kevin Stitt rejected Coddington's petition for clemency and declined to commute his sentence to life in prison without parole. According to The New York Times, he is the first of 25 men that the state is aiming to execute over the next 28 months.

He was convicted and sentenced to death for killing his friend and co-worker, Albert Hale, inside the 73-year-old's Choctaw house, by beating him to death in 1997. Coddington, who was 24 at the time, got very angry when Albert refused to give him money to buy cocaine, said prosecutors.

Earlier this month, a clemency hearing before the state’s five-member Pardon and Parole Board was held. At the time, emotional Coddington apologized to Albert's family. He said that he was a different man today. Coddington told the board that he was clean, and that he was "not a vicious murderer."

At the time, his lawyer, Emma Rolls, told the panel that he was impaired by years of alcohol and drug abuse. It started when he was an infant and his father put whiskey and beer into his baby bottles.

Albert's son, Mitch Hale, had urged the parole board not to recommend clemency. He said that he felt a sense of relief with Stitt’s decision. After Stitt announced his decision, Mitch, 64, said that his "family can put this behind us after 25 years." He shared that no one is ever happy that someone’s dying, but Coddington chose this path, and that "he knew what the consequences are, he rolled the dice and lost." Mitch, his wife, goddaughter and a friend attended the Thursday execution.

Coddington was twice sentenced to death for Albert's killing. The second time was in 2008 after his initial sentence was overturned on appeal. After killing Albert, he committed at least six armed robberies at convenience stores and gas stations across Oklahoma City.

According to CNN, in his final words, Coddington thanked his family, friends and lawyers. He also addressed Stitt, saying, "I don't blame you, and I forgive you."

Representation image. Pixabay.

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