MCALESTER, Okla. — Bigler Jobe Stouffer II spent nearly four decades on death row. Thursday his execution took just 16 minutes at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

At 79, Stouffer is the oldest prisoner executed in Oklahoma history.

Twice tried, convicted and sentenced to death for a murder he claimed he didn’t commit, Stouffer issued these final words: “My request is that my father forgive them. Thank you.”

The Rev. Howard Potts, Stouffer’s spiritual adviser, placed a Bible on Stouffer’s legs and talked quietly to him. At one point Stouffer chuckled and smiled before saying “amen” at least once.

Stouffer’s breathing quickly became heavy upon the first injection. He closed his eyes three minutes later and seven minutes into the procedure prison officials announced he was unconscious.

 “He’s gone,” the Rev. Potts  mouthed to witnesses on the other side of the glass separating the viewing room from the death chamber.

The three-drug protocol began at 10 a.m. (CST). A prison official gave the time of death as 10:16 a.m.

State Prisons Director Scott Crow said the execution occurred without complications — unlike the October execution of John Marion Grant, who news media witnesses said convulsed and vomited several times.

Stouffer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to halt his execution, contending the three-drug lethal injection created a risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering. The court rejected the appeal two hours before his execution.

Stouffer’s death sentence resulted from a 1985 gun attack that killed Linda Reaves, an Oklahoma City area school teacher, and seriously wounded her boyfriend, Doug Ivens.  Prosecutors said Stouffer sought to gain access to Ivens’ $2 million life insurance policy. At the time, Stouffer was dating Ivens’ ex-wife.

Reaves' cousin, Rodney Thomson, spoke to reporters after the execution, saying her murder had consumed family members. “Although long in come, justice has prevailed,” Thomson said.

Oklahoma’s Parole and Pardon Board recently voted 3-2 to recommend Gov. Kevin Stitt change Stouffer’s sentence to life in prison without parole because of lingering questions over the lethal drug protocol.

Stitt rejected the recommendation. Yet last month he reduced the death sentence of  Julius Jones’ to life in prison with no chance for parole. The board had suggested life with the possibility of parole because of concern over evidence used to convict him of murder. The case attracted national attention, including a petition on Jones’ behalf signed by more than 6 million people.

Stouffer's execution was the second since Oklahoma resumed the death penalty after a 2015  moratorium caused by botched and problematic lethal drug procedures. Three more executions are scheduled for the first quarter of next year.  

Prior to Stouffer’s execution Thursday, John Boltz, 74, in 2006 was the oldest prisoner put to death. An estimated 197 executions, including three women, have been recorded in Oklahoma history.

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