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Death Penalty Rate Slowly Falls, But Not in Oklahoma

Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of executions across the nation is falling, and more states are abolishing the death penalty altogether.

Oklahoma apparently won't be joining that list any time soon.

The Death Penalty Information Center says executions have fallen by more than half in the past 15 years and Maryland could soon become the 18th state to end executions.

Oklahoma's executions fell from 18 in 2001 to six last year. State Senator Constance Johnson of Oklahoma City proposed a bill to study the death penalty's costs and impact on crime.

While the bill didn't even get a committee hearing — Johnson says opposition to the death penalty is growing, particularly among churches.

Steven Ray Thacker died Tuesday in the state's first execution this year. There are 58 other inmates on death row.