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Flurry of Executions as Four Death Row Inmates to Be Killed in 48 Hours

Newsweek 11/16/2022 Khaleda Rahman
An anti-death penalty demonstrator stands outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2022. © Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images An anti-death penalty demonstrator stands outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2022.

Four death row inmates are scheduled to be executed over the course of 48 hours this week.

Arizona, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma have scheduled executions to take place between Wednesday morning and Thursday evening.

Death penalty opponents have organized protests in the states, saying the flurry of executions means the United States is on course to have carried out the most death sentences in a single month since January 2015.

Texas executed Tracy Beatty last week, and Missouri's planned execution on November 30 would bring the month's total to six if it goes ahead.

"Polls suggest a slight majority of Americans support executions, but that support slips when respondents are asked if they prefer throwing away the key rather than killing a tiny percentage of those convicted of homicide," Abraham Bonowitz, executive director of Death Penalty Action, said in a statement to Newsweek.

"We know we can be safe from people who have done terrible things and hold them accountable, without executions. That is what we do in the vast majority of cases."

Here are the four death row inmates whose executions are scheduled for November 16 and 17:

Murray Hooper

Arizona is planning to execute Hooper, 76, at 10 a.m. MT.

Hooper was condemned for the killings of Patrick Redmond and his mother-in-law, Helen Phelps. Prosecutors said he and two other men forced their way into Redmond's home in Phoenix while the family was preparing for a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 1980.

Redmond's wife, Marilyn, survived the attack and identified all three men. The other two men died in prison before their sentences could be carried out.

Hooper has maintained his innocence. Judges have rejected his lawyers' requests for fingerprinting and DNA testing in the case. They say no physical evidence ties Hooper to the killings and that testing could exonerate him.

Stephen Barbee

Barbee, 55, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas at 6 p.m. CT.

He was convicted in the killings of Lisa Underwood, 34, and her son Jayden. They were both suffocated at their home in Fort Worth and later found buried in a shallow grave in nearby Denton County. Barbee was sentenced to death in 2006.

Barbee confessed to police that he killed Underwood and her son, saying he feared Underwood would tell his wife that he was the father of her unborn child.

He later recanted, saying the confession was coerced, and has since maintained his innocence.

Richard Fairchild

Fairchild, a Marine veteran, is scheduled to be put to death at 10 a.m. CT at Oklahoma's state penitentiary in McAlester on Thursday—his 63rd birthday.

He was sentenced to death for the 1993 killing of his girlfriend's 3-year-old son, Adam Broomhall.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board rejected a request for clemency for Fairchild on October 12. His attorney had argued that he was abused as a child, suffers from mental illness and is remorseful for his actions.

Fairchild was among 25 inmates on Oklahoma's death row who had their execution dates set after the state's lethal injection protocol was upheld by a federal judge.

Kenneth Smith

Smith is set to be executed in Alabama at 6 p.m. CT.

He was convicted of a 1988 murder-for-hire killing. A judge in 1996 sentenced him to death, overriding the jury's 11-1 vote to sentence him to life in prison.

Prosecutors said Reverend Charles Sennett hired Smith and another man, John Forrest Parker, to kill his wife, Elizabeth Sennett. Charles Sennett took his own life days after his wife's body was found when the murder investigation began to focus on him as a suspect, according to court records.

Smith said it was Parker who stabbed Sennett. He was executed in 2010.

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