OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt wants a state court to set an execution date for a death row inmate who maintains he's insane.
Pruitt this week asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set an execution date for 55-year-old Garry Thomas Allen, who was sentenced to die for the 1986 shooting death of a woman in Oklahoma City. A Pittsburg County judge on Wednesday vacated a stay of execution that was granted in 2005, prompting Pruitt's request that an execution date be set 30 days after Dec. 28 "or at the earliest date this court deems fit."
Allen was convicted of first-degree murder in Oklahoma County and sentenced to death for the Nov. 21, 1986, shooting death of 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth, the mother of Allen's two children.
But one day before his scheduled execution in May 2005, a district judge in Pittsburg County issued a stay after a psychological examination at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary indicated Allen 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. The U.S. Supreme Court and state law prohibits execution of inmates who are insane or mentally incompetent.
A 12-member jury was impaneled in 2008 to determine Allen's sanity. Jurors rejected Allen's argument that he should not be put to death and decided he was sane enough to be executed.
Allen appealed, but the appeals court earlier this month concluded the appeal was not authorized by law and that there is no procedure to appeal a finding that a person facing execution is sane.
Allen's attorney, Kristi Christopher of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
A jury sentenced Allen to death for shooting Titsworth in the parking lot of an Oklahoma City daycare center. She had moved out of the home she shared with Allen and their two sons four days earlier.
Court documents indicated the two were arguing when Allen reached into his sock, pulled out a revolver and shot Titsworth twice in the chest. Titsworth ran with a center employee toward the building, but Allen pushed the worker away, shoved Titsworth down some steps and shot her twice in the back at close range, records show.
A police officer responding to a 911 call tussled with Allen before shooting him in the face, according to court documents. Allen was hospitalized for about two months for treatment of injuries to his face, left eye and brain.
Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy