Fresh doubts about Richard Fairchild’s mental capacity have prompted a petition to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to stay his execution. Fairchild is a convicted child mur*derer.
Today, November 17, his 63rd birthday, is Fairchild’s scheduled execution date for the 1993 mu*rder of Adam Broomhall, his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son.
His lawyer, Emma Rolls, requested the stay on Wednesday, citing evidence from an investigator that he “was completely out of touch with reality.”
Before the mur*der, Fairchild spent the entire day drinking with the boy’s mother, according to court records. Later that night, at his girlfriend’s house in Del City, the boy woke up crying, so Fairchild beat him and then forced him to press against a furnace, burning both sides of his body.
Fairchild later threw the twenty-four-pound boy into a dining table, causing him to lose consciousness and making sure he would never wake up.
On November 14, 1993, it was determined that the boy had received 26 separate blows to his body and that his cause of de*ath was blunt force trauma to the brain.
In Oklahoma, Richard Fairchild was not granted clemency in October.
Despite the claims made by Fairchild’s attorney that his acts that night were partly caused by severe brain damage he had suffered throughout his life, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board ruled 4–1 in October to deny clemency.
The state’s attorneys offered a grim picture of that night’s events.
“Fairchild was Adam’s jury, judge, and executioner,” stated Julie Pittman, general counsel for Attorney General John O’Connor. Adam’s offense? He got the bed wet.
Fairchild did not appear before the parole board, but Michael Hurst, the victim’s uncle, provided a succinct statement on behalf of the victim’s late mother, who was the victim’s grandmother.
“I beg you, show no mercy to a man who could torture a child,” the letter begged.
As he wrapped up, Hurst begged the parole board to “let our family heal.”
Hurst, with a disclaimer, told The Oklahoman following the vote in October that he thought the result would let his family move on almost thirty years after the m*urder of his nephew.
Hurst remarked, “I would have preferred Adam to be here.”
Governor Kevin Stitt is unable to commute Fairchild’s de*ath sentence to life in prison without the chance of parole, per the parole board’s ruling. The board must recommend clemency before a de*ath row inmate’s sentence can be commuted in Oklahoma.
The lethal injection method of execution will start at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Fairchild’s lawyer cited the landmark 1986 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the mental health of d*eath row inmates as justification for the stay. The court came to the conclusion that governments cannot execute incompetent prisoners because the constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
“Delaying Mr. Fairchild’s execution for a period to allow for the appropriate determination of the claim of a mentally ill and incompetent man would not cause harm to the State,” the assistant federal public defender informed the court.
In a written affidavit, investigator Mark Jacobs said that Fairchild’s “grasp of reality is slipping.”
Jacobs works as an investigator for the federal public defense office in Oklahoma City. The investigator spent two hours on Monday with Fairchild, whom he first met in 2009.
“Richie informed us that he hears voices nearly constantly,” the investigator wrote. “Richie’s mental state has deteriorated to the point that I believe he does not comprehend why he is being executed.”
The declaration states that he thinks he has millions of dollars in a bank, that his brother has ordered his execution, and that brother wants the money. Another delusion is that he is being tortured by his brother in his cell using a “video voice recorder.”
In response, O’Connor asked the court to reject a stay on Wednesday.
“Petitioner’s last-minute, bare-bones competency claim is unworthy of further investigation, let alone a stay of execution,” the judge ruled.