Convicted Child Kidnapper and Murderer, Richard Rojem, Executed in Oklahoma After Exhausting All Appeals

Execution chamber last appeal.

Oklahoma Executes Richard Rojem for Child Kidnapping, Rape, and Murder

Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester became the center of attention when Richard Rojem, a long-serving inmate on death row, was executed on Thursday. The 66-year-old was convicted for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 7-year-old Layla Cummings in 1984.

Rojem’s Last Moments

The three-drug lethal injection was administered to Rojem after he exhausted all of his appeals. As per the statement from the State Department of Corrections Director, Steven Harpe, the execution started at 10:03 a.m., and Rojem was declared unconscious five minutes later. His death was confirmed at 10:16 a.m. During his final moments, Rojem did not make any final pronouncements, simply stating, “I don’t. I’ve said my goodbyes.”

A Sigh of Relief for the Victim’s Family

After almost 40 years of suffering and waiting, the family of Layla Cummings finally met closure. “Justice for Layla Cummings was finally served this morning with the execution of the monster responsible for her rape and murder,” State Attorney General, Gentner Drummond, announced in his statement post-execution. Alluding to the pain endured by Layla’s family in the past four decades, he prayed that the execution brings a sense of comfort to those who loved her.

A Monster’s Last Meal

Before meeting his death, Rojem was served his last meal on Wednesday: a small Little Caesars pizza with double cheese and double pepperoni, a ginger ale, and two cups of vanilla ice cream.

Rojem’s Past Offences and Unavailing Innocence Plea

While appearing before the state’s Pardon and Parole Board via a video link, Rojem, who was previously convicted of raping two teenage girls in Michigan, denied his responsibility for murdering Cummings. His plea for mercy was unanimously denied by the board.

Prosecutors alleged that Rojem murdered Cummings out of resentment because she reported that he sexually abused her, leading to his divorce from her mother and his return to prison.

Rojem’s attorneys, however, argued that DNA evidence from the girl’s fingernails did not link him to the crime and requested that his sentence be commuted to life in prison without parole.

Conviction Evidence

Besides DNA, there was substantial evidence used to convict Rojem, including a fingerprint found outside victim’s apartment allegedly originating from a bar cup that Rojem left prior to the kidnap. A condom wrapper found near Layla’s body was linked to a used condom discovered in Rojem’s bedroom. After just 45 minutes of deliberations, a Washita County jury convicted Rojem in 1985. Subsequent appeals due to trial errors led his death sentence to be overturned twice, but a Custer County jury reaffirmed the death penalty in 2007.

Oklahoma’s Track Record

With the execution of Rojem, Oklahoma, which reinstated the death penalty in 1976, continues to have the highest per capita rate of executions in the nation. Since resuming capital punishment in October 2021 after a six-year hiatus, the state has carried out 13 executions. The return to capital punishment is steeped in controversy following serious issues arising from past executions conducted in 2014 and 2015.

Outside the governor’s mansion in Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, death penalty opponents held vigils following the execution.

Convicted Child Kidnapper and Murderer, Richard Rojem, Executed in Oklahoma After Exhausting All Appeals

Author: HERE Irmo

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

Featured Business

Featured Neighborhood

Sign up for our Newsletter