Pardon And Parole Board Grants Clemency To Convicted Rapist, Murderer

Friday, June 7th 2013, 6:52 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board have recommended a reversal of the death penalty for a convicted rapist and murder.

It is a rare decision, and one Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt calls incomprehensible especially considering the brutality of the crime.

Brian Darrell Davis sits on death row after being charged, tried and convicted of raping and murdering his girlfriend's mother, 52-year-old Josephine Sanford, back in November 2001.

"It was a shocking brutal attack, rape and murder of an innocent woman," said First Assistant AG Tom Bates, with the Oklahoma Attorney General's office.

But in a routine hearing less than a month before Davis's execution, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board recommended clemency for Davis; life in prison instead of the death penalty. A reprieve, the Oklahoma Attorney General's office says he does not deserve.

"The facts are gruesome. They were heinous, atrocious and cruel," said Bates. "That is clearly within the facts when the jury heard that people could determine that the death penalty was warranted and 12 people in Kay County did just that. Again, it's not the pardon and Parole Board's job to place their judgment in place of those people."

The Executive Director of the Pardon and Parole Board said in a statement that the decision was a difficult one, but the board does not comment regarding decisions.

Although the Pardon and Parole Board recommends clemency, the final decision will be up to the Gov. Mary Fallin. A spokesperson from her office tells News 9, at this point, there is no indication if she intends to uphold their decision. 

Fallin has until June 25, the date Davis is scheduled for execution, to decide.