Execution Date Set for Matthews, Execution Challenge Denied
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals today set Jan. 11 as the execution date for Cleveland County death row inmate Jeffrey David Matthews on the same day a federal appellate court denied Matthews’ challenge of the state’s lethal injection process.
Matthews was convicted and sentenced to death for the January 1994 murder of 77-year-old Otis Earl Short during a robbery of Short’s home in Rosedale.
Matthews was scheduled to be executed last summer but the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma stayed the execution after the Department of Corrections (DOC) altered the drugs used in the execution process due to a nationwide shortage of the anesthetic sodium thiopental.
The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed a Nov. 22 district court ruling stating DOC’s intention to use pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental in Matthews’ impending execution did not violate the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment nor does it violate Oklahoma execution statutes.
“The Tenth Circuit ruled that the district court was well within its boundaries in reviewing the evidence presented by both sides in this case,” Edmondson said. “The court also ruled that Matthews’ attorneys failed to show that their challenge to the execution protocol set forth by the state would likely be successful on the merits.”