American, author of a double murder, executed Thursday in Oklahoma

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American, author of a double murder, executed Thursday in Oklahoma

An American sentenced to death for killing a couple in their 70s was executed on Thursday in the presence of a priest whom Oklahoma prison authorities initially wanted to keep away. Scott Eizember, 62, received a lethal injection at McAlester Penitentiary in the central United States. He is the third convict executed since the beginning of the year in the country.

Nearly 20 years after “his horrible crimes (…) justice has been done”, commented in a press release the attorney general of Oklahoma Gentner Drummond, who attended the execution. Scott Eizember was sentenced to death for the 2003 murder of an elderly couple. According to Drummond, he had “kept them captive for hours at their home”, before shooting the wife and then smashing the husband’s skull in with his pistol.

Last September, he received a visit from a priest opposed to the death penalty, Jeffrey Hood, a member of the Old Catholic Church (which broke with Rome). The two men had bonded and Scott Eizember had wished that this priest accompany him during his transition from life to death.

The “militancy” of the priest

On January 4, the penitentiary officials had refused, highlighting the “militancy” of the priest likely, according to them, to make a scene during the execution. The two men then took legal action, accusing these officials of “hostility towards religion”. “Indeed, they refuse to a prisoner to have the spiritual adviser of his choice at the most critical moment of his life: his death”, had written their lawyers.

To put an end to this procedure, the prison authorities of Oklahoma finally accepted the presence of Hood, saying to act in the interest of the family of the victims. “The relatives of the victims are ready to close the page and understand that this complaint (…) risks delaying the execution”, explained their director Steven Harpe in a press release. According to reporters authorized to witness the execution, the security guard kept his eyes on Hood throughout the proceedings Thursday and no hitches were reported.

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