Oklahoma prison officials: Pastor cannot be on death row

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma death row inmate due to be executed Thursday cannot have his spiritual guide with him in the execution chamber due to the minister’s vocal opposition to the death penalty, including arrests, reports The Department of Corrections said on Monday.

Scott Eisember, 61, asked that his spiritual guide, the Rev. Jeff Hood of Arkansas, be allowed into the execution chamber Thursday during his lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. But DOC officials expressed concern that Hood would not ensure the dignity of the process.

“Out of respect for the families of the victims, the ODOC will not allow activists to interfere, regardless of the activist’s stated role in this process,” said DOC spokesman Josh Ward. “The spiritual adviser in this case has been repeatedly arrested for similar antics in other states, showing blatant disregard for the experience of the families of the victims and the solemnity of the process.”

Ward said that Hood would still be allowed to see Eisember during the time leading up to his execution, and that Hood would be able to watch the execution from another part of the facility over a closed circuit.

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