The 16th Execution of 2022
Oklahoma executed Richard Stephen Fairchild on November 17, 2022 for the torture slaying of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in 1993, the third of four scheduled executions in the U.S. over a two-day stretch, reported The Associated Press.
With Richard Stephen Fairchild’s execution, the state has now put to death seven people since it resumed carrying out executions in October 2021. In that time, Oklahoma has carried out more executions than neighboring Texas, which since 1976 has executed far more people than any other state.
More than half of the 40 people currently on Oklahoma’s death row have execution dates set over the next two years after the state Court of Criminal Appeals issued a moratorium in 2015 following a botched execution and two drug mix-ups in the death chamber.
Fairchild’s execution was the 16th in the U.S. this year — including one in Texas and one in Arizona on Wednesday — up from last year’s three-decade low of 11. An execution scheduled for later Thursday in Alabama was eventually called off after officials who were up against a midnight deadline couldn’t find a suitable vein to inject the lethal drugs.
Fairchild, who turned 63 on Thursday, began receiving the first of a lethal three-drug combination at 10:10 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He was declared dead at 10:24 a.m.
Fairchild, an ex-Marine, was convicted of killing Adam Broomhall after the child wet the bed. Prosecutors say Fairchild held both sides of Adam’s body against a scorching furnace, then threw him into a table. The child never regained consciousness and died later that day.
Strapped to a gurney inside the death chamber, Fairchild thanked his attorneys and prison staff and apologized to Adam’s family.
“Today’s a day for Adam, justice for Adam,” Fairchild said.
“I’m at peace with God. Don’t grieve for me because I’m going home to meet my heavenly father.”
Michael Hurst, the slain child’s uncle, said the boy would have been 34.
“Our long journey for justice has finally arrived,” Hurst said, adding that he was surprised to hear Fairchild express remorse for killing his nephew. “He hadn’t said that in 30 years.”
A second execution scheduled for November 17, 2022 in Alabama failed. Alabama’s execution of a man convicted in the 1988 murder-for-hire slaying of a preacher’s wife was called off Thursday just before the midnight deadline because state officials couldn’t find a suitable vein to inject the lethal drugs.
Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said prison staff tried for about an hour to get the two required intravenous lines connected to Kenneth Eugene Smith, 57. Hamm said they established one line but were unsuccessful with a second line after trying several locations on Smith’s body. Officials then tried a central line, which involves a catheter placed into a large vein.
“We were not able to have time to complete that, so we called off the execution,” Hamm said.