, Muskogee, OK

November 5, 2012

Oklahoma murderer's attorney asks Supreme Court to halt execution

Associated Press

TULSA (AP) — An Oklahoma man scheduled to be executed Tuesday for the 1986 slaying of his fiancee claims he is mentally incompetent and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

Garry Thomas Allen was convicted of fatally shooting Lawanna Gail Titsworth outside a children's day care in Oklahoma City. Titsworth had moved out of the home she shared with Allen and their two sons four days before her death.

Allen's attorney, Randy Bauman, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the lethal injection, which is set to take place at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Bauman said he could not comment further on his client's case Monday.

Allen shot Titsworth twice in the chest after confronting her outside the day care, according to prosecutors. She then ran with a center employee toward the building, but Allen pushed the worker away, shoved Titsworth down some steps and shot her twice more in the back at close range, records show.

Allen fought with a police officer who responded to a 911 call about the shooting and the officer shot Allen in the face, according to court documents. Allen was hospitalized for about two months for treatment of injuries to his face, left eye and brain.

Allen entered a blind plea of guilty to first-degree murder and a judge sentenced him to die.

Allen's attorneys argued he was not competent enough to enter the plea. They also contend he was mentally impaired when he killed Tistworth, that he had been self-medicating for a mental illness and that his mental condition has only gotten worse on death row.

A judge stayed Allen's original May 19, 2005, execution date after a psychological examination at the penitentiary indicated Allen had developed mental problems. The U.S. Constitution forbids the execution of inmates who are insane or mentally incompetent.

But three years later, a jury rejected Allen's claims he should not be put to death.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board had voted in April 2005 to recommend that Allen's death sentence be commuted to life without parole, but that clemency recommendation wasn't acted on until this year, when Gov. Mary Fallin denied it.

Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Fallin, said the governor denied the recommendation from the parole board after "carefully reviewing the facts of the case."

"She expects his execution to move forward as scheduled and is confident that justice is being served," Weintz said in a statement Monday.