The state of Oklahoma has maintained momentum in its efforts to execute more than half of the prisoners on death row.
Richard Fairchild, who was sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1993 murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son Adam, was executed on his 63rd birthday Thursday at 10:24 a.m. via the state’s controversial lethal injection protocol.
“Today is Adam’s day, justice for Adam,” Fairchild said as he lay on the wagon before his death, according to the Associated Press.
He continued, “I am at peace with God. Do not grieve for me because I am going home to meet my Heavenly Father.”
Oklahoma has a history of botched executions by the controversial lethal injection protocol, with sensations that have been likened to being waterboarded or subjected to chemical fire, according to Robert Dunham, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, but Attorney General John O. Connor said Fairchild’s execution took place “without complications”.
Fairchild was rejected a pardon recommendation from the Pardons and Parole Board in October.
Prosecutors told the council that Fairchild killed the child by “torture” – after putting his body in an oven and dumping it on a table.
But Fairchild’s lawyers claimed he did not qualify for execution and was “completely out of touch with reality”.
According to obtained court documents, his attorneys claim that Fairchild, a former Marine, was raised in a home where physical abuse and drug use were common. They also claim that he suffered from mental illness and possible brain damage that worsened over time, and they even believe his brother orchestrated his execution.
“In simple terms, Mr. Fairchild is schizophrenic, psychotic, and delusional in thinking. He does not seem qualified to be executed because he no longer has any rational understanding of why he should be executed, rather he believes so at his brother’s request,” said neuropsychologist Dr. Barry. Crown after he evaluated it, pursuant to a request claiming incapacity for execution.
The Associated Press reports that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and the US Supreme Court have rejected appeals filed by Fairchild’s lawyers in an effort to spare him the death penalty.
Fairchild is the seventh prisoner to be killed in Oklahoma since October 2021, and the third of 25 prisoners scheduled for execution in the state between August 22 and December 2024.