Oklahoma executed its sixth death row inmate since 2006 on Thursday afternoon. Witnesses said that he started vomiting before convulsing and then died.
John Marion Grant, 60 years old, was declared deceased at 4:21 pm, just 20 minutes after being administered lethal drugs. According to Associated Press coverage of Grant’s execution, he began vomiting and convulsing after he was given the sedative midazolam. Retired A.P. A retired A.P. reporter said that he had only seen one other inmate vomit while he was being executed.
This is a disturbing outcome for Oklahoma which, due to problems with its drug and protocol protocols put an end to executions. When the state tried to execute Clayton Lockett in 2014, he was conscious and still struggling minutes later. Later state officials acknowledged that Lockett was not executed correctly and that he had suffered a cardiac arrest long after the prescribed drugs had killed him.
Oklahoma took the same steps, and an investigation was launched. However, Oklahoma decided to keep these lethal injection protocols in place. It also announced that it would resume executions in 2020. About 30 Oklahoma inmates who are on death row have brought suit against Oklahoma to stop executions. The lawsuit argued that the system violated the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unjust punishment. This case is scheduled to be heard before a Federal Judge next year. Oklahoma City Free PressNoting that Grant and Julius Jones were both on death row, Grant was kicked out because they failed to offer an alternative execution method.
Grant was sentenced to 130 years in prison for the murder of Gay Carter, a prison cafeteria worker. He was serving his work detail at Dick Conner Correctional Center.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals gave Grant a temporary stay of execution Wednesday to allow him to continue with these Eighth Amendment claims. John O’Connor was the Oklahoma Attorney General. The justices decided 5–3 to lift the stayAllow Grant’s execution move ahead. Sonia Sotomayor (Justice Stephen Breyer), and Elena Kagan (Justice Elena Kagan) dissented. These three justices repeatedly called on each other for years to review these cases and examine the arguments, but have never been able to do so.
Grant may not exactly inspire feelings of mercy—according to the A.P., he was spouting out “a stream of profanities” as he was being injected. A man called Richard Glossip is also currently on Oklahoma’s death row. Many believe that he is innocent, and does not belong in Oklahoma. Although Glossip did not actually kill anyone, he was sentenced twice to death for the alleged masterminding of Barry Van Treese’s 1997 murder. Justin Sneed was only 19 when he killed Van Treese. However, he claimed Glossip forced him to do the crime for the money and promotion. Sneed was sentenced at the maximum to life imprisonment. Glossip was executed.
Sneed has not provided any evidence to support his claim. Video of an interview with a police officer that Sneed was not allowed to see is actually evidence. It shows Sneed being forced by the detective to blame Glossip.
Glossip almost died in 2015. However, an execution moratorium saved him. He was the plaintiff in a Supreme Court case that year where justices narrowly ruled, 5–4, that midazolam may be used as a sedative in combination with other drugs for lethal injections and that it does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Grant was given the same drug before having his convulsions.
In April, The Marshall Project reported that some Republicans in Oklahoma had reconsidered the death penalty or at the very least considered making it easier to bring a case for an innocent party. The same thing is happening in other parts of the country.
After three Republicans joined the Democratic majority in the Virginia state legislature, Virginia was the first Southern state that had repealed the death penalty. According to the Marshall Project, roughly half of the US states that have an active death penalty system had Republican legislators who sponsored or drafted bills recently to prohibit or limit the punishment or help innocent convicts avoid it.
Julius Jones has been scheduled to be executed November 18. Grant was wrong to convict him. He insists that he is innocent. In 1999, he was sentenced for the shooting death and murder of an Oklahoma City businessman. However, he maintains that he was only framed by a co-defendant against whom he testified. Next week, he has a hearing for clemency. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parle Board recommended that the Oklahoma Governor. Kevin Stitt’s sentence was commuted to life prison.