Stop the Execution of James Coddington in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt & the Pardon and Parole Board

James Coddington was scheduled for execution in Oklahoma on March 10, 2022 for the 1997 murder of Albert Troy Hale.

On June 10, 2022, Coddington was listed first among 25 execution dates requested by the Attorney General, and may face execution as early as August 25th.


James Coddington – A Life Marked by Childhood Abuse and Mental Illness

James Coddington never had a chance. His mother, a methamphetamine addict, went to prison when he was just six weeks old, leaving him and his siblings in the care of his violent, drug- and alcohol-addicted father. Mr. Coddington lived in abject poverty, crawling among syringes and drug residue on the dirt floor of his father’s filthy home in the Mulligan Flats area of Oklahoma City. Though there was always money to feed his father’s addictions, the children went hungry, forced to scrounge for food in dumpsters. When Mr. Coddington was just fifteen months old, one of his older sisters ran away with him. He was filthy and malnourished, weighing only as much as an eight-month-old baby. He was temporarily placed in foster care, but later returned to his father’s custody.

Mr. Coddington’s father regularly and savagely beat him, kicking him out of his stroller and throwing him against the wall. To keep him from crying, the father put alcohol in Mr. Coddington’s baby bottles. Mr. Coddington ingested drugs as an unsupervised toddler, and his brothers introduced him to drug use at a young age, leading him to develop a crack cocaine addiction in his teens.

Likely due to substance abuse, malnutrition, trauma, and genetics, Mr. Coddington showed signs of severe mental illness as a child. At age eight, he was placed in a psychiatric hospital for six months. He continued to struggle with addiction and mental illness throughout his life.

In 1997, while in the throes of a three-day crack-cocaine binge, Mr. Coddington killed his friend Albert Hale. For that crime, he received a death sentence, despite his profound remorse and acceptance of full responsibility for his actions.

At trial, a psychiatrist was barred from testifying that Mr. Coddington was incapable of forming the specific intent required to commit a capital crime, due to brain damage resulting from his lifelong addiction and the effects of his drug use at the time of the crime. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals agreed that excluding this evidence violated Mr. Coddington’s constitutional rights, but deemed the error “harmless” because, it said, evidence of his guilt – the fact that he committed the acts to which he had fully admitted – was overwhelming. Yet those acts would not have exposed Mr. Coddington to a death sentence without proof of the requisite intent.

Mr. Coddington has been a model prisoner throughout his time on death row. He continues to express deep remorse for the murder of Albert Hale.

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In scheduling executions such as this, Oklahoma makes itself an outlier in its use of the death penalty. The majority of other states are on a downward trend of executions, and increasingly, states are abolishing the practice altogether, including the southern state of Virginia, which repealed its death penalty law in 2021.

Furthermore, the continued failure of Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol and the resulting "botched" executions are of grave concern.

Please sign this petition asking the Governor and the Pardon and Parole Board to make sure Coddington does not face execution and to seek a path to clemency in the case.

NOTE: Petition language is subject to adjustment as needed to ensure accuracy.

Sponsored by

To: Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt & the Pardon and Parole Board
From: [Your Name]

We are writing to you regarding James Coddington, who is facing an execution date for the 1997 murder of Albert Troy Hale. Mr. Coddington has been a model prisoner throughout his time on death row. He continues to express deep remorse for the murder of Albert Hale.

There are numerous issues that cry out for full examination and which should motivate mercy, including the facts of Mr. Coddington's history of mental illness, brain damage resulting from addiction, and horrific childhood experiences.

In scheduling executions such as this, Oklahoma makes itself an outlier in its use of the death penalty. The majority of other states are on a downward trend of executions, and increasingly, states are abolishing the practice altogether, including the southern state of Virginia, which repealed its death penalty law in 2021.

Furthermore, the continued failure of Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol and the resulting "botched" executions are of grave concern.

We, the undersigned, ask that you do everything within your power to ensure Coddington does not face execution and to seek a path to clemency in the case.

Thank you for time and attention to this urgent and serious matter.