Oklahoma Executes Inmate Despite Claims That He Was Mentally Ill



  • Oklahoma executed Richard Fairchild on Thursday.
  • Fairchild was sentenced to death for the murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in 1993.
  • “Don’t grieve for me because I’m going home to meet my heavenly father,” he said before his death.

The state of Oklahoma has maintained momentum in its effort to execute more than half of the inmates on its death row.

Richard Fairchild, who was sentenced to death in 1996 for the 1993 killing of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son, Adam, was executed on his 63rd birthday on Thursday at 10:24 a.m. via the state’s controversial lethal injection protocol. 

Laying on the gurney before his death, Fairchild said, “Today’s a day for Adam, justice for Adam,” according to The Associated Press.

“I’m at peace with God. Don’t grieve for me because I’m going home to meet my heavenly father,” he continued.

Oklahoma has a history of botched executions through its highly controversial lethal injection protocol, with sensations that have been likened to the feeling of being waterboarded or exposed to a chemical fire, Robert Dunham, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, previously told Insider. But Attorney General John O’Connor said Fairchild’s execution occurred with “zero complications.” 

Fairchild was denied a clemency recommendation from the Pardon and Parole Board in October.

Prosecutors told the board that Fairchild murdered the child by means of “torture” — after having held his body to a furnace and throwing him into a table.

But Fairchild’s attorneys claimed that he was not competent for execution and was “completely out of touch with reality.”

According to court documents obtained by Insider, his attorneys claim that Fairchild, a former marine, grew up in a household where physical abuse and substance abuse were common. They also claim that he suffered from mental illness and potential brain damage that has worsened over time, even believing that his brother has orchestrated his execution.

“In simple terms, Mr. Fairchild has schizophrenia, is psychotic, and suffers from delusional ideation. He does not appear to be competent to be executed because he no longer has any rational understanding of the reason for his execution, but rather, believes it is at the request of his brother,” neuropsychologist Dr. Barry Crown said after evaluating him, according to a motion to allege incompetency for execution.

Oklahoma’s Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court both denied appeals that Fairchild’s attorneys filed in an effort to spare him from the death penalty, The Associated Press reported.

Fairchild is the seventh inmate Oklahoma has killed since October 2021, and the third of 25 inmates slated for execution in the state between August 22 and December 2024. 



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