Emmanuel Littlejohn: The Official Narrative of an Injustice

Emmanuel Littlejohn: The Official Narrative of an Injustice May 15, 2024



Through interaction over a number of months, Oklahoma Death Row inmate Emmanuel Littlejohn constructed this narrative with his spiritual advisor the Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood to let people know that he didn’t kill anybody and certainly doesn’t deserve to be executed.



“Underwhelming.”  That’s how Emmanuel Littlejohn described his initial interactions with Glenn Bethany at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in the early 1990s.  The two really didn’t get to know each other at all.  “I just knew him from a distance.  Honestly, I really wasn’t all that interested in getting to know him.”  Littlejohn was focused on getting out as quickly as possible, not making new buddies.  Eventually, he did get out, but quickly returned to his old ways.  By the time Littlejohn encountered Bethany again (1992), they were at the Ambassador Courts Apartments in Oklahoma City, “getting high and drunk.”  Littlejohn looked right at Bethany and declared, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”  The interaction led the two to become business colleagues of a sort.  One of the local drug dealers enlisted them to help him sell dope in the neighborhood.   The two got to work.  Late one night, Littlejohn and Bethany returned to bring back the earnings to the drug dealer.  It quickly became apparent that Bethany was short close to $300.  Looking at Littlejohn, Bethany admitted to smoking most of his dope.  The drug dealer said that he was going to kill them both if he didn’t get his money.  Littlejohn said his options were limited, “What would you do?  The fastest way I knew to get money was to rob somebody.  We had to do what we had to do to survive.  I wish it hadn’t been like that, but it was.”

For multiple hours, Emmanuel Littlejohn and Glenn Bethany surveyed the streets for a place to rob.  Some stores were too crowded.  Some stores had security.  Some stores were too close to other stores.  Eventually, the two settled on a small store called, “Root-n-Scoot.”  Parking a block away, Littlejohn and Bethany got out of the car.  “We thought that the block distance would create some distance between us and the crime.”  As they walked toward the store, Littlejohn had his gun fully displayed and Bethany had his hidden.  Upon entering the store, Littlejohn pointed his gun at the clerk Tony Hulsey and demanded the contents of the register.  Bethany screamed loudly, “Give me the money!  Give me the money!  Give me the money!”  Littlejohn recalled in vivid detail, “From outside the store, it appeared that Husley was the only person in the store.  Even when we were in the store, it seemed like this was going to be an easy score.  That is, until it wasn’t.”  Bethany kept demanding more money.  Littlejohn was ready to get out of there.  They already had more than enough.  Then, Bethany screamed, “Look out!”

Kenneth Meers appeared from the back of the store.  Both Littlejohn and Bethany had no idea that he was there.  It looked like he was carrying a shotgun.  Immediately, Bethany opened the door and Littlejohn ran out.  “I was doing my best to get my ass to the car.  I wasn’t interested in shooting nobody.  I wasn’t interested in getting shot.”  Meers kept coming and Bethany fired back into the store on the way out.  Witnesses that lived directly across the street described Bethany as the shooter.  “We weren’t sure exactly what happened when we both got back to the car.  Neither one of us thought that anybody was going to end up dead.”  Not long after, word reached both Littlejohn and Bethany that Meers was dead.  “Immediately, I went to Bethany and declared, ‘You killed dude?’  I didn’t understand why anybody would be that dumb.  It was just senseless.  We already had the money.  He was like, ‘oh well.’  I knew I had to get out of town as quickly as possible.”  Before Littlejohn left, his girlfriend encouraged him to kill Bethany.  “She was convinced that Bethany was going to try to pin it all on me.  She was right.”  Littlejohn took off to his mom’s house in Wichita, Kansas.  Three days later, the police caught up with Littlejohn and informed him that Bethany was trying to pin it all on him.  Littlejohn vividly remembers his first thought in the back of the police cruiser, “I should have listened to my girlfriend.”

Prosecutors pursued murder charges against Emmanuel Littlejohn and Glenn Bethany separately.  Meaning, they were able to advance a different theory of what happened at each trial.  In Littlejohn’s trial, they argued that Littlejohn was the actual shooter.  In Bethany’s trial, they argued that Bethany was the actual shooter.  Prosecutors plainly stated that there weren’t two shooters, yet they argued that two different people were the shooter.  “At Bethany’s trial, they spent the entire time arguing that I wasn’t the shooter.  When people ask me how I can prove that I wasn’t the shooter, I just tell them to listen to the arguments that were presented at Bethany’s trial.”  Even though prosecutors made similar one shooter arguments to secure convictions against Littlejohn and Bethany, only Littlejohn received the death penalty. The sentence was handed down over 30 years ago, in 1994.  In the coming months, Littlejohn is scheduled to be executed.  Bethany is serving a life sentence.  How is such discrepancy fair?  The State of Oklahoma is about to execute Littlejohn for killing Kenneth Meers after they spent an entire trial (that of Bethany) arguing he didn’t actually kill him.

“I am about to be killed for never having killed anyone.  I shouldn’t have been there.  I shouldn’t have taken part in any of it.  I was young and dumb.  I’ve repeatedly apologized to the Meers family.  But it doesn’t make sense for Bethany to get a life sentence and for me to get the death penalty.  Right before trial, prosecutors offered me a life sentence with parole.  They knew I wasn’t the shooter.  None of the witnesses said I was the shooter.  I’d be out by now!  But I knew I didn’t shoot anybody.  Damnit!  I ain’t going to say that I killed Kenneth Meers when I know I didn’t.”



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