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Oklahoma death row inmate’s appeal denied by Supreme Court

June 8, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the appeal of an Oklahoma death row inmate convicted of beating a man to death with a hammer.

The court on Monday denied, without comment, the appeal of James Coddington, 49, who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1997 death of Albert Troy Hale, 73, at Hale’s home in Oklahoma County.

A defense attorney for Coddington declined comment.

Coddington argued in legal filings that he was not allowed to present testimony from an addiction psychiatrist that his addiction to cocaine chemically altered his brain to the point he could not form the malice to kill Hale.

“The defense argued that the State of Oklahoma charged Mr. Coddington with premeditated murder, what state law calls ‘malice aforethought’ murder,” according to the filing. “If successful, the defense would reduce their client’s culpability from a death eligible murder, premeditated murder, to a death-ineligible one, second-degree murder.”

Prosecutors say Coddington beat Hale in the head with a hammer and robbed him after Hale refused to loan Coddington money to buy cocaine.