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Inmates

Oklahoma Stays Execution of James Ryder Ahead of February 1, 2024

James Ryder, Oklahoma

Updated: Monday, January 29, 2024

James Ryder

The execution of James Ryder was scheduled for Thursday, February 1, 2024, at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma.  James has been granted a 100-day stay of execution.  Sixty-one-year-old James is convicted of murdering 38-year-old Sam and 70-year-old Daisy Hallum in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma in April 1999.  For the last 23 years, James has resided on death row in Oklahoma.

In late 1998, James Ryder was hired by Sam and Daisy Hallum.  In exchange for taking care of their home and horses while they were out of town, Ryder could stay at the residence rent-free.  The arrangement was to last about four to five months.  Ryder had previously told friends he was going to go to the Yukon and began accumulating supplies, storing them at the Hallum residence.  

Ryder left the Hallum residence in early 1999.  He returned on April 2, 1999.  Ryder returned and asked a police officer to come with him to retrieve his belongings from the Hallum property.  Deputy Arnold and Ryder first met Sam by the gate.  Sam claimed to know nothing about the property and directed them to his mother, Daisy.  Ryder and the deputy went up to the house to speak with Daisy.

Daisy answered the door and spoke politely to the deputy but slammed the door in Ryder’s face.  She claimed none of Ryder’s belongings was at the property, instead, it was at a storage facility.  She said she would retrieve it and have it at the property the following day.

On April 3, 1999, Ryder and Deputy Arnold again returned to the Hallum property to speak with Daisy.  Daisy again said she did not have Ryder’s property, but gave him the key to a storage unit in Eufaula.  Ryder declined Deputy Arnold’s offer to go with him to the storage unit.  The deputy told Ryder to contact him if his property was not there.

Upon arriving at the storage unit, Ryder only found two empty boxes.  He returned to where he had been staying and retrieved two guns.  On April 4, Ryder packed his belongings and told Cindy, the woman that he had been staying with, that he was going to Atlanta.

On April 5, Sam and Daisy Hallum reported to the police that their front door had been kicked in and their house ransacked, although nothing seemed to be missing.  Sam suspected Ryder.

On April 8, Ryder was seen in Eufaula by Cindy.  Ryder asked to store some belongings in Cindy’s garage and she agreed.  At that time, Ryder was dressed in camouflage.  Later that night when Cindy returned home, she found a burning pile near her garage.  There was camouflage clothing in the pile.  Ryder was inside her home with a towel wrapped around his hand.  He claimed his finger had been shot while turkey hunting.  After asking Cindy to cut off his finger, Cindy suggested going to the hospital.  He refused saying hospitals asked too many questions.  Ryder spent the night and left the next morning.

The following morning, Cindy received a phone call that Sam Hallum had been found dead.  Cindy immediately suspected Ryder and called the authorities.  Ryder was later arrested in Georgia.  

A neighbor had found Sam’s body that morning in the front yard of the Hallum’s house. He had been shot to death. Daisy’s body was found about 100 yards from the house.  She had been severely beaten and wrapped in a shower curtain before being left outside.

Ryder was charged, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murders of Sam and Daisy Hallum on June 23, 2000.

James Ryder was granted a 100-day stay of execution to allow time for a mental competency hearing to be carried out.  According to the Supreme Court of the United States, it is unconstitutional to execute a mentally incompetent inmate.  Incompetence is determined by whether or not the inmate has a rational understanding of their impending execution and a rational understanding of why they are being executed.  In 2022, a doctor determined that James did not understand why he is being executed.  A competency hearing will be held by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, where it will be determined if James can be executed. 

Please pray for the family of Sam and Daisy Hallum.  Pray for strength for the family of James Ryder.  Pray that if James is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence is presented before his execution.  Please pray that James will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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