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Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry approves clemency recommendation

The governor commutes a death sentence to life without the possibility of parole. It is the third time Gov. Brad Henry has granted clemency in a death penalty case.

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: May 20, 2010
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An inmate on death row for 23 years who was scheduled to be executed earlier this year had his death penalty sentence commuted Wednesday to life without the possibility of parole.

Gov. Brad Henry approved clemency for Richard Tandy Smith, 47, who was sentenced to death in 1986 for the shooting death of John Cederlund in Canadian County. The governor followed the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s recommendation.

"I am always reluctant to intervene in a capital case, and I am very respectful of a jury’s verdict, the prosecutors who tried the case and the victim’s family who suffered because of the crime,” Henry said. "However, after reviewing all of the evidence and hearing from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, I decided the Pardon and Parole Board made a proper recommendation to provide clemency and commute the death sentence.”

It was the third time in his nearly eight years in office that Henry has granted clemency in a death penalty case.

In all those cases, the sentences were commuted to life without parole.

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