Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has voted to recommend clemency (mercy) for a person facing execution. They do not do that often, but they did so by a vote of 4 to 1 in the case of Garry T. Allen. The State of Oklahoma is scheduled to execute Allen on Thursday, April 12, 2012 for his murder of Lawanna Gail Titsworth. A number of reasons are cited to support the vote.
- Allen does not recall the crime. This could result from either extreme intoxication and/or being shot in the head when apprehended.
- Despite this lack of memory, Allen has accepted responsibility for shooting Lawanna Gail Titsworth in a domestic dispute.
- His behavior during the shooting when Allen asked Titsworth her if she was all right, and later, at the hospital, he asked where she was point to Allen being mentally impaired at the time of the crime.
- Allen’s family reported instances of delusional thinking even as a child. It is also reported that he suffered head injuries during a beating. It is further reported that the “frontal lobe of Allen’s brain, the part involved in planning and moderating behavior, is damaged, perhaps because of earlier head injuries or perhaps because of the gunshot in the head, or both.”
- Allen accepts the fact that he killed Titsworth – though he does not remember but was told by others that he committed the crime. In an effort to spare both Titsworth’s and his own family painful legal proceedings, Allen plead guilty to the crime.
I grieve for the family, friends, and all who loved Lawanna Gail Titworth. They have suffered a loss I cannot imagine.
But I fail to see how executing Garry T. Allen serves a purpose other than revenge. And the State of Oklahoma – any state – should be better than that. The State of Oklahoma should not execute this mentally ill and remorseful man. He should serve the remainder of his life in an appropriate state facility.
I signed a petition asking Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma to show mercy and, as the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommends, to grant clemency to Gary T. Allen.
See you along the Trail.
I regret that I have not made time to address issues of capital punishment and the death penalty over the last couple months.