- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 7 (UPI) — Outgoing Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating Tuesday stayed next week's scheduled execution of Bobby Joe Fields to allow more time to review a new clemency recommendation for the convicted killer.

Keating will step down Jan. 13 and he believed more time was needed to review the recommendation received only Monday from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, spokesman Dan Mahoney said.

After contacting Gov.-elect Brad Henry the departing governor decided to issue a 30-day stay to Fields, who was scheduled to receive a lethal injection Jan. 14. Henry could issue another stay if necessary to complete the review.

The board voted 3-1, with one abstention, in favor of clemency for Fields, who was sentenced to die for the 1993 slaying of 77-year-old Louise Schem during a robbery at her Oklahoma City home.

At the board hearing, Fields' attorneys argued that the gun accidentally fired during a struggle. During the trial, prosecutors said Fields wrestled the gun from the woman and then shot her as she fled.

Fields went into Schem's home to steal a television for drug money, according to court records. Schem confronted him with a .25 caliber pistol and the two wrestled for the weapon. The gun fired, hitting Schem in the back of the head.

Fields, now 39, had previously served time for robbery and he pleaded guilty to the capital murder charge. A judge sentenced him to die.

Keating has received four clemency recommendations in death row cases and granted only one.

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