Pardon for child murderer sentenced to death denied in last-ditch effort to prevent execution next week

Richard Rojem, who was sentenced to death for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, is scheduled to be executed on June 27 after his plea for clemency was rejected.

Richard Rojem, 66, killed his former stepdaughter Layla Cummings(OKLAHOMA: Board of Pardons and Parole

A death row inmate for kidnapping, raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl has had his appeal for clemency denied, paving the way for his execution next week.

Richard Rojem, 66, was sentenced to death for killing his former stepdaughter Layla Cummings in 1984. Her body was discovered mutilated and partially clothed in a field in rural Washita County near the town of Burns Flat. Layla had been stabbed to death.

Rojem has denied responsibility for the murder but has exhausted all legal remedies. He is now scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on June 27. His lawyers have maintained his innocence and claimed that DNA evidence taken from Layla's fingernails does not link him to the gruesome crime.

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“If my client's DNA is not there, he should not be convicted,” said attorney Jack Fisher. Fisher called on Oklahoma's Board of Pardons and Parole to recommend a pardon to the governor so that Rojem can be spared execution and instead spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Governor Kevin Stitt cannot commute Rojem's death sentence without the board recommending a clemency. However, the board unanimously rejected a clemency for the death row inmate on Monday.