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Oklahoma death row inmate requests second clemency hearing

Jeffrey David Matthews, who is scheduled for lethal injection Tuesday, has requested a last-minute clemency hearing in from of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. The board denied clemency for Matthews once and a second review is considered unprecedented.
By Michael Baker Modified: August 11, 2010 at 11:01 pm •  Published: August 11, 2010

A death row inmate scheduled to be executed next week has asked the state Pardon and Parole Board for an unprecedented second clemency hearing.

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.

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