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Advocates call for mercy ahead of clemency hearing for death row inmate Richard Fairchild

A photo of death row inmate Richard Fairchild provided by Oklahoma's Department of Corrections.
A photo of death row inmate Richard Fairchild provided by Oklahoma's Department of Corrections.

This week the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board will be holding a clemency hearing for Richard Fairchild, a man sentenced to death for beating his girlfriend's son to Death in Del City in 1993.

Fairchild's attorneys say he shouldn't be executed because he suffers from major mental illnesses and delusions.

Attorney Emma Rolls said Fairchild sustained numerous head injuries during his time as an amateur boxer and while serving in the military.

Rolls says that his brain damage was not brought up during his original trial.

"Essentially his trial attorney presented very little in mitigation," Rolls said." He only presented testimony that said Mr. Fairchild was an alcoholic and acted in an explosive rage because of his alcoholism, which is not nearly the picture of accuracy that he could have."

In a clemency petition filed last week, attorneys said Fairchild mental state has to the point where he can no longer "tell the difference between reality and delusions."

Rolls said Fairchild's case illustrates what attorneys are seeing over and over again in the state's clemency cases.

"And that is that almost without an exception, these men that are Oklahoma executing are vulnerable individuals that suffer from severe mental illness severe, brain damage and have experienced horrific trauma and depravation throughout their childhood which includes Mr. Fairchild as well," Rolls explained.

Rolls said she believes history will not be kind to Oklahoma while looking back on these executions and especially on the people being executed.

If board members deny clemency, Fairchild will be executed on November 17th.

Click here to watch the live clemency hearing this Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Before making her way to Public Radio Tulsa, KWGS News Director Cassidy Mudd worked as an assignment editor and digital producer at a local news station. Her work has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates across the country.