Richard Rojem Execution Scheduled For Today

Richard Rojem execution
Richard Rojem

The State of Oklahoma is getting set to execute Richard Rojem for the sexual assault and murder of a seven year old girl

According to court documents seven year old Layla Cummings was abducted from her apartment that she shared with her mother and brother. A search would take place and police would find the body of the seven year old in a plowed field later that day. The child had been sexually assaulted and stabbed repeatedly

Richard Rojem who was the stepfather of Layla Cummings had separated from the child’s mother two months prior to the brutal murder. Police would find evidence that linked him to the sexual assault and murder of the little girl

Richard Rojem would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Richard Rojem is scheduled to be executed on June 27 2024 by lethal injection

Richard Rojem Execution News

Oklahoma plans to execute a man Thursday who was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a 7-year-old girl in 1984.

Richard Rojem, 66, has exhausted his appeals and is scheduled to receive a three-drug lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

During a clemency hearing earlier this month, Rojem denied responsibility for killing his former stepdaughter, Layla Cummings. The child’s mutilated and partially clothed body was discovered in a field in western Oklahoma near the town of Burns Flat. She had been stabbed to death.

“I wasn’t a good human being for the first part of my life, and I don’t deny that,” said Rojem, handcuffed and wearing a red prison uniform, when he appeared via a video link from prison before the state’s Pardon and Parole Board. “But I went to prison. I learned my lesson and I left all that behind.”

The board unanimously denied Rojem’s bid for mercy. Rojem’s attorney, Jack Fisher, said there are no pending appeals that would halt his execution.

Richard Rojem was previously convicted of raping two teenage girls in Michigan and prosecutors allege he was angry at Layla Cummings because she reported that he sexually abused her, leading to his divorce from the girl’s mother and his return to prison for violating his parole.

“For many years, the shock of losing her and the knowledge of the sheer terror, pain and suffering that she endured at the hands of this soulless monster was more than I could fathom how to survive day to day,” Layla’s mother, Mindy Lynn Cummings, wrote to the parole board.

Rojem’s attorneys argued that DNA evidence taken from the girl’s fingernails did not link him to the crime and urged the clemency board to recommend his life be spared and that his sentence be commuted to life in prison without parole.

“If my client’s DNA is not present, he should not be convicted,” Fisher said.

Prosecutors say plenty of evidence other than DNA was used to convict Rojem, including a fingerprint that was discovered outside the girl’s apartment on a cup from a bar Rojem left just before the girl was kidnapped. A condom wrapper found near the girl’s body also was linked to a used condom found in Rojem’s bedroom, prosecutors said.

A Washita County jury convicted Rojem in 1985 after just 45 minutes of deliberations. His previous death sentences were twice overturned by appellate courts because of trial errors. A Custer County jury ultimately handed him his third death sentence in 2007.

Oklahoma, which has executed more inmates per capita than any other state in the nation since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, has carried out 12 executions since resuming lethal injections in October 2021 following a nearly six-year hiatus resulting from problems with executions in 2014 and 2015.

Death penalty opponents planned to hold vigils Thursday outside the governor’s mansion in Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

https://apnews.com/article/oklahoma-execution-richard-rojem-57ca75b05212ecb59247747080fbce9e

Richard Rojem Execution

Oklahoma executed a man Thursday who was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing his 7-year-old former stepdaughter in 1984.

Richard Rojem, 66, received a three-drug lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester and was declared dead at 10:16 a.m., prison officials said. Rojem, who had been in prison since 1985, was the longest-serving inmate on Oklahoma’s death row.

When asked if he had any last words, Rojem, who was strapped to a gurney and had an IV in his tattooed left arm, said: “I don’t. I’ve said my goodbyes.”

He looked briefly toward several witnesses who were inside a room next to the death chamber before the first drug, the sedative midazolam, began to flow. He was declared unconscious about 5 minutes later, at 10:08 a.m., and stopped breathing at about 10:10 a.m.

A spiritual adviser was in the death chamber with Rojem during the execution

Rojem had denied responsibility for killing his former stepdaughter, Layla Cummings. The child’s mutilated and partially clothed body was discovered in a field in rural Washita County near the town of Burns Flat on July 7, 1984. She had been stabbed to death.

Rojem was previously convicted of raping two teenage girls in Michigan, and prosecutors said he was angry at Layla Cummings because she reported that Rojem sexually abused her, leading to his divorce from the girl’s mother and his return to prison for violating his parole.

Rojem’s attorneys argued at a clemency hearing this month that DNA evidence taken from the girl’s fingernails did not link him to the crime.

“If my client’s DNA is not present, he should not be convicted,” attorney Jack Fisher said.

In a statement read by Attorney General Gentner Drummond after the execution, Layla’s mother, Mindy Lynn Cummings, said: “We remember, honor and hold her forever in our hearts as the sweet and precious 7-year-old she was.

“Today marks the final chapter of justice determined by three separate juries for Richard Rojem’s heinous acts nearly 40 years ago when he stole her away like the monster he was.”

Rojem, who testified at the hearing via a video link from prison, said he wasn’t responsible for the girl’s death. The panel voted 5-0 not to recommend to the governor that Rojem’s life be spared.

“I wasn’t a good human being for the first part of my life, and I don’t deny that,” said Rojem, handcuffed and wearing a red prison uniform. “But I went to prison. I learned my lesson and I left all that behind.”

Prosecutors said there was plenty of evidence to convict Rojem, including a fingerprint that was discovered outside the girl’s apartment on a cup from a bar Rojem left just before the girl was kidnapped. A condom wrapper found near the girl’s body also was linked to a used condom found in Rojem’s bedroom, prosecutors said.

A Washita County jury convicted Rojem in 1985 after just 45 minutes of deliberations. His previous death sentences were twice overturned by appellate courts because of trial errors. A Custer County jury ultimately handed him his third death sentence in 2007.

Oklahoma, which has executed more inmates per capita than any other state in the nation since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, has now carried out 13 executions since resuming lethal injections in October 2021 following a nearly six-year hiatus resulting from problems with executions in 2014 and 2015.

https://apnews.com/article/oklahoma-execution-richard-rojem-57ca75b05212ecb59247747080fbce9e

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