2 Victims' Advocacy Groups Call Out Oklahoma's Pardon & Parole Board


Wednesday, December 1st 2021, 6:44 pm


OKLAHOMA CITY -

On Wednesday, two victims' rights groups gathered at the state Capitol to call out the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.

They said the state failed to protect victims' rights and created a public safety crisis.

"You couldn't imagine how it changes you, and it does change you," said Shirl Pilcher.

In 2001, Pilcher's sister, Brenda McElyea, and Felicia Suzette Smith were murdered by Donald Grant while working at a hotel in Del City.

On Tuesday, Pilcher went to Grant's clemency hearing.

"It was hard," said Pilcher. "And based on what I knew from previous hearings, I was afraid. I pretty much walked in expecting a yes vote."

"The public, all of us as a whole, we failed the victim's family," said Jennifer Harman, with Justice for Peggy.

The Victim's Innocence Project and Justice for Peggy heavily criticize the board's recommendations for Julius Jones and Lawrence Anderson.

"Within three weeks of being let out of prison, the woman behind me lost her mother," said Amy Kingry, with Victim's Innocence Project. "Mr. Anderson proceeded to not only take the life of Haylee's mom but also two other individuals."

"If there's one thing that I can tell you, that this state needs to wake up to and there needs to be some accountability its the members on that pardon and parole board," said Kingry.

In recent weeks, the board recommended clemency to death row inmate Bigler Stouffer after concerns were raised over the state's lethal injection protocol.

"It leaves a lot of doubt in my mind if we should even continue doing these," board member Larry Morris said at Stouffer's hearing.

After a U.S. district judge ruled Stouffer's execution could move forward, the board denied two other death row inmates' clemency.

"The state continues to be confident in their execution protocol and should that change the governor has the ability to issue a stay," board member Kelly Doyle said at Grant's hearing.

On Tuesday, Pilcher watched as the board denied clemency for Grant.

On Wednesday, the board also denied Gilbert Postelle.

"I do have some questions about the pardon and parole board," said Pilcher.

Concerned for others but happy with the board's denial, Pilcher said she waits to see if the execution will move on as planned.

The board told News 9 they have no comment at this time.