A death row inmate scheduled to be executed next week has asked the state Pardon and Parole Board for an unprecedented second clemency
Jeffrey David Matthews, 38, of Purcell, is scheduled for lethal injection Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Matthews has been convicted of murdering a 77-year-old man on Jan. 27, 1994, during a robbery at the man's McClain County home.
Matthews was convicted of killing Otis Earl Short and assaulting Short's wife, Minnie Delores Short, whose throat was slashed during the burglary.
Matthews was Otis Short's great-nephew.
Pardon and Parole Board members rejected Matthews' first request for clemency on May 26. Pardon and Parole Board General Counsel Tracy George said "there's really no precedent" for a second clemency hearing.
Friday, attorneys with the Federal Public Defender's Office sent a letter to the board asking for a special or emergency meeting to vote a second time on whether to commute Matthews' death sentence.
Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office has objected to the request.
"The fundamental flaw with the defense request for reconsideration of the Board's previous vote on the issue, however, is that there is nothing new to support Matthews's claim of actual innocence," Assistant Attorney General Seth Branham wrote the board.
Branham's letter, dated Monday, says the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has completed a review of fingerprint impressions but found no matches to unmatched fingerprints found at the crime scene.
Gov. Brad Henry has twice granted a stay of execution to Matthews after defense attorneys asked for more time to review fingerprint evidence.
Matthews was previously scheduled to be executed on June 17 and July 20.
Paul Sund, a spokesman for Henry, said in an e-mail that the execution remained schedule for Tuesday and that he was not aware that anything had come up to stop it.
George said Pardon and Parole Board members have been mailed Matthews' request and the attorney general's objection.
To call a special meeting, the board would have to give notice of such a meeting by Friday, because Oklahoma law requires 48 business hours of notification.
An emergency meeting could be called closer to the Tuesday's scheduled execution.
Matthews maintains he is not guilty
In a letter written to The Oklahoman last month, Matthews maintained his innocence.
"The real truth is that there is not one shred of evidence to place me at the crime scene; not DNA, not fingerprints, not gun residue, (for which I was tested) not fiber evidence, and not voice recognition. NOTHING," he wrote.
The prosecution has laid out its case on several occasions. Its case includes the following evidence:
• Matthews was identified by an accomplice as the one who shot Otis short.
• A bottle of Xanax, $500 cash and a .32-caliber pistol were taken during the robbery. When Matthews was arrested, authorities found a bottle of Xanax and three $100 bills in his freezer.
• A man testified he loaned Matthews a loaded .45-caliber pistol just hours before the murder.
• The Shorts' .32-caliber pistol and a .45-caliber pistol were found buried behind Matthews' house five months after the murder. Ballistics tests confirmed a bullet fragment recovered from Short's body was fired from that .45-caliber pistol.
Branham wrote in his letter to the parole board that several family members of the Shorts are appalled that Matthews has twice been granted a stay of execution.
Branham wrote: "These family members are certain that the only way to hold Matthews responsible for his murderous actions is death by lethal injection."