Death row hammer killers last words and final meal before execution

A man on death row used his last words to forgive the politician that refused to grant him mercy.

James Coddington, 50, was executedin Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, USA, by lethal injection on Thursday.

He was on the row for the murder of 73-year-old Albert Hale in 1997 when he beat him to death with a hammer – he was just 24 at the time.

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Prior to his execution, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt had had the opportunity to give Coddington mercy following a recommendation his life be spared by the state Pardon and Parole Board.

It was an opportunity he turned down.

In his final moments, TheNew York Postreports Coddington gave a thumbs up to his quietly crying attorney, lifted his head and said: “To all my family and friends, lawyers, everyone who’s been around me and loved me, thank you.”

He then added: “Gov. Stitt, I don’t blame you and I forgive you.”

Coddington, who as a child had been bottle-fed booze, lashed out at Hale all those years ago when he refused his request for £42 to buy cocaine.

The young man had reportedly been suffering drug-induced psychosis at the time and after killing Mr Hale admitted he had been behind six armed robberies across the state.

In a final bid to gain clemency, hoping to appeal to Stitt, Coddington said: "I can’t apologise enough for what I did.”

He said Hale was "one of my friends" who was trying not to give Coddington cash to help him kick his addiction. "And for that, he lost his life".

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Coddington tried to make clear that he was a different person after years of being sober, but his plea fell on deaf ears.

Despite his petition, Stitt’s office said: "After thoroughly reviewing arguments and evidence presented by all sides of the case, Governor Kevin Stitt has denied the Pardon and Parole Board's clemency recommendation for James Allen Coddington."

Coddington’s last meal included two cheeseburgers, two crunchy fish sandwiches, two large fries and a large soda.

Mitch Hale, Hale’s son, was in attendance at his father’s killer’s execution. He said to the NYP: “He proved today it wasn’t genuine. He never apologised,” Hale said. “He didn’t bring up my dad.”

He added: “I forgive him, but that doesn’t release him from the consequences of his actions”.

James Coddington didn’t mention Hale in his final words – he was pronounced dead at 10.16am on August 25.

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