Death penalty panel recommends extended moratorium on Oklahoma executions

Oklahoma's execution chamber (File photo / KOKH)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KTUL) -- A commission tasked with reviewing the death penalty in Oklahoma has recommended placing an extended moratorium on executions until "significant reforms" are made.

The 11-member commission said Tuesday in a news conference at the state Capitol that work must be done to avoid any chance of executing the innocent.

Members of the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission include former Gov. Brad Henry and retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Reta Strubhar.

The group spent the last year and a half studying the Oklahoma death penalty system. The recommendation to extend the moratorium was unanimous.

"The commission did not come to this decision lightly, due to the volume and seriousness of the flaws in Oklahoma's capital punishment system, commission members recommend that the moratorium on executions be extended until significant reforms are accomplished," said Henry, commission co-chair.

At Tuesday's news conference, the commission released a more than 300-page report with 46 recommendations.

Oklahoma's executions have been on hold for more than two years after high-profile errors in carrying out the death penalty and while the state developed new protocols.

According to the Associated Press, 15 Oklahoma death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are awaiting execution dates.

Read the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission's report.

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