Oklahoma Executes Richard Rojem | HuffPost Latest News | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma executed a person Thursday who was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing his 7-year-old former stepdaughter in 1984.

Richard Rojem, 66, acquired a three-drug deadly injection on the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester and was declared lifeless at 10:16 a.m., jail officers mentioned. Rojem, who had been in jail since 1985, was the longest-serving particular person on Oklahoma’s dying row.

When requested if he had any final phrases, Rojem, who was strapped to a gurney and had an IV in his tattooed left arm, mentioned: “I don’t. I’ve said my goodbyes.”

He seemed briefly towards a number of witnesses who have been inside a room subsequent to the dying chamber earlier than the primary drug, the sedative midazolam, started to movement. He was declared unconscious about 5 minutes later, at 10:08 a.m., and stopped respiratory at about 10:10 a.m.

A non secular adviser was within the dying chamber with Rojem throughout the execution.

Rojem had denied accountability for killing his former stepdaughter, Layla Cummings. The youngster’s mutilated and partially clothed physique was found in a area in rural Washita County close to the city of Burns Flat on July 7, 1984. She had been stabbed to dying.

Rojem was beforehand convicted of raping two teenage ladies in Michigan, and prosecutors mentioned he was offended at Layla Cummings as a result of she reported that Rojem sexually abused her, resulting in his divorce from the lady’s mom and his return to jail for violating his parole.

Rojem’s attorneys argued at a clemency listening to this month that DNA proof taken from the lady’s fingernails didn’t hyperlink him to the crime.

“If my client’s DNA is not present, he should not be convicted,” legal professional Jack Fisher mentioned.

In a press release learn by Attorney General Gentner Drummond after the execution, Layla’s mom, Mindy Lynn Cummings, mentioned: “We remember, honor and hold her forever in our hearts as the sweet and precious 7-year-old she was.

“Today marks the final chapter of justice determined by three separate juries for Richard Rojem’s heinous acts nearly 40 years ago when he stole her away like the monster he was.”

Rojem, who testified on the listening to through a video hyperlink from jail, mentioned he wasn’t liable for the lady’s dying. The panel voted 5-0 to not advocate to the governor that Rojem’s life be spared.

“I wasn’t a good human being for the first part of my life, and I don’t deny that,” mentioned Rojem, handcuffed and sporting a purple jail uniform. “But I went to prison. I learned my lesson and I left all that behind.”

Prosecutors mentioned there was loads of proof to convict Rojem, together with a fingerprint that was found outdoors the lady’s house on a cup from a bar Rojem left simply earlier than the lady was kidnapped. A condom wrapper discovered close to the lady’s physique additionally was linked to a used condom present in Rojem’s bed room, prosecutors mentioned.

A Washita County jury convicted Rojem in 1985 after simply 45 minutes of deliberations. His earlier dying sentences have been twice overturned by appellate courts due to trial errors. A Custer County jury in the end handed him his third dying sentence in 2007.

Oklahoma, which has executed extra individuals per capita than every other state within the nation for the reason that dying penalty was reinstated in 1976, has now carried out 13 executions since resuming deadly injections in October 2021 following an almost six-year hiatus ensuing from issues with executions in 2014 and 2015.

Follow Sean Murphy on X at www.x.com/apseanmurphy