Family members, media witnesses describe execution of Oklahoma death row inmate

MCALESTER, Okla. — Oklahoma prison officials executed Richard Fairchild Thursday morning.

Fairchild was convicted for the 1993 murder of his girlfriend’s son, 3-year-old Adam Broomhall.

Officials said there were no complications with Fairchild’s execution. It did start later than expected due to last minute decisions with the courts.

Both the Supreme Court and Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals declined to intervene.

This was the first execution under new Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Steven Harpe.

Harpe replaced longtime Director Scott Crow this year.

During the post-execution press conference, Harpe spoke about the professionalism of the prison staff.

“To be honest, it’s a horrible day,” said Harpe. “I don’t want to take anything away from the families, but it was impressive how professional it was carried out.”

Broomhall’s uncle, Michael Hurst, spoke after Harpe.

“Our long journey for justice has finally arrived,” said Hurst. “Adam would have been 34 today. From now on, the narrative is going to be about him, not Mr. Fairchild.”

Hurst and Broomhall’s aunt, Brandi Anthony, said Fairchild apologized to their family and showed remorse.

“I felt like Fairchild’s remorse was sincere,” said Hurst. “He showed compassion. I was surprised by it, in 30 years he’s never done that.”

Multiple media witnesses described Fairchild’s last words. In addition to apologizing to Broomhall’s mother and grandmother, Fairchild thanked his lawyers and prison staff.

Sean Murphy with the Associated Press wrote that Fairchild mentioned God, saying he found peace and he’s going to meet his heavenly father.

Fairchild was pronounced dead at 10:24 a.m.

Both the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office and the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty issued statements after Fairchild’s execution.

Rev. Don Heath, OK-CADP chair

“We shouldn’t have to hold up signs on the road that say ‘Don’t Kill the Mentally Ill’ and ‘Stop Executing Veterans.’ This is the fourth person with mental illness and brain damage that the State has executed in 2022. No end is in sight. We have 23 more executions scheduled in the next 26 months. Oklahoma is ruled by people with hard hearts. Richard Fairchild was a beloved child of God. I hope that he is now at peace.”

Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office

The State’s execution of Richard Fairchild was carried out with zero complications at 10:24 this morning, 29 years after he brutally tortured to death three-year-old Adam Broomhall,” said Attorney General John O’Connor. “Yesterday, Fairchild’s attorneys filed two lawsuits claiming he did not understand why he was being executed. In Fairchild’s last words, he called today ‘Justice for Adam day.’ Fairchild acknowledged that Adam would be 34 years old today and he apologized to Adam’s family. In spite of his attorney’s last-minute attempts to delay his lawful execution, Fairchild quite plainly knew why he was executed. Justice is now served for Adam and the people of Oklahoma. This does not bring Adam back to his family and nothing can fill the void left by the loss of a loved one. Our hearts and prayers are with Adam’s family.”

The State is scheduled to execute John Hanson on Dec. 15.

Hanson was convicted on two counts of murder in Tulsa County in 1999, but is currently serving a life sentence in a Louisiana prison.