Double killer's last words before being executed by lethal injection

A man who murdered an elderly couple during a break-in 20 years ago has been executed in Oklahoma.

Scott James Eizember, 62, was given the death penalty for killing AJ Cantrell, 76, and his wife, Patsy Cantrell, 70, in Depew on October 18, 2003.

‘I’m at peace,’ he said, while strapped to a gurney with an intravenous line in his left arm. ‘My conscience is clear, completely. I love my children.’

Once the lethal drugs began to flow, Eizember, who had a close-cropped beard, could be seen chatting with his spiritual adviser, the Reverend Jeffrey Hood, who was inside the execution chamber with him.

He lifted his head at one point and mouthed the words, ‘I love you’, toward his daughter and attorneys who were among 17 people seated in the witness room.

Eizember’s breathing became labored and he was passed out at 10.07am. He appeared to stop breathing at 10.10am and was pronounced dead five minutes later.

Prosecutors said he forced entry to their home after seeing them leave so he could lie in wait for his ex-girlfriend, Kathryn Smith, who lived across the street.

When the couple came home unexpectedly, Eizember shot Patsy Cantrell with a shotgun he found inside the home and then bludgeoned her husband with the weapon.

After killing the couple, Eizember walked across the street and entered Smith’s home, shot her son in the back and attacked her mother. Both survived the attack.

His lawyers did not deny he was responsible for the killings, told the state’s Pardon and Parole Board last month they were unplanned and spontaneous and his life still had value.

The board voted 3-2 to reject a clemency recommendation.

‘He has felt remorse every day of his imprisonment. There is no reason to kill him next month other than revenge,’ attorney Mark Henricksen told the board.

After the execution, several members of the Cantrell spoke of the pain the family has endured and voiced concern at the length of time it took for Eizember to be executed.

Johnny Melton, the slain couple’s nephew, said in a statement read on behalf of the family: ‘After living this nightmare, I must say that 20 years is too long for justice to be served.

‘We want to get it right and we absolutely want to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected, but the process is much too slow.’

Melton also stressed the importance of addressing domestic violence and improving mental health treatment, in the state of Oklahoma and across the nation.

‘I know this is going to be a controversial statement, but I believe it to be a fact. It is the abuser who needs help. They need it when they are young,’ Melton said.

‘By the time the victim needs help, it’s too late.’

Eizember filed a last-minute lawsuit seeking to have his spiritual adviser with him inside the death chamber during his execution after the Department of Corrections rejected the minister because of Hood’s history of anti-death penalty activism, including arrests.

The DOC reversed course on that decision Wednesday, citing concerns from the Cantrell family that the decision could lead to Thursday’s execution being called off.

The US Supreme Court ruled last year that states must accommodate the wishes of death row inmates who want to have their pastors pray aloud and even touch them during their executions.

Oklahoma uses a three-drug lethal injection method starting with the sedative midazolam, rendering the person unconscious, followed by a paralytic vecuronium bromide and finally potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

Eizember’s execution was the eighth in Oklahoma since the state resumed executions in 2021.

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