Okla. appeals court upholds man’s death penalty

May 13, 2011 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A state appeals court has upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of first-degree murder for the beating death of a 73-year-old Choctaw man.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Friday upheld the death sentence of 39-year-old James Allen Coddington of Choctaw.

Coddington was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in 2003 for the 1997 beating death of Albert Hale. Authorities say Coddington beat Hale on the head with a hammer because Hale wouldn’t give him money to buy drugs.

The appeals court overturned Coddington’s original death sentence, but a different jury imposed another death sentence in 2008.

The court’s opinion says jurors at Coddington’s second sentencing trial found that Hales’ death was atrocious and cruel and that Coddington posed a continuing threat to society.