Oklahoma prepares to resume lethal injections after 6-year hiatus

US Supreme Court lifts moratorium on executions in state arrested for drug confusion and failed lethal injection.

A 60-year-old Oklahoma man who stabbed to death a prison cafeteria worker in 1998 is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday in the state’s first attempt to apply the death penalty since a series of wrongful executions ago more than six years.

The state moved forward with the lethal injection of John Marion Grant after the US Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, lifted the stays of execution that were set Wednesday for Grant and another inmate on death row. , Julius Jones, for the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Grant was serving a 130-year prison sentence for multiple armed robberies at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy when witnesses said he dragged 58-year-old Gay Carter prison cafeteria worker into a mop cupboard. and stabbed her 16 times with a homemade cane. He was sentenced to death in 1999.

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles twice denied Grant’s request for clemency, including a 3-2 vote this month to reject a recommendation that he be spared.

Oklahoma has historically had one of the busiest death chambers in the country, but a series of troublesome lethal injections in 2014 and 2015 led to a de facto moratorium. Richard Glossip was just hours away from being executed in September 2015 when prison officials realized they had received the wrong lethal drug. It later emerged that the same wrong drug had been used to execute an inmate in January 2015.

This undated photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows John Marion Grant scheduled to be executed on October 28, 2021. [File: Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP]

The drug mix-up followed a botched execution in April 2014 in which inmate Clayton Lockett wrestled on a stretcher before dying within 43 minutes of his lethal injection, and after the state’s chief of prisons ordered the executioners to to stop.

While the moratorium was in effect, Oklahoma went ahead with its plans to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates, but eventually scrapped that idea and announced last year that it planned to resume executions using the same three-drug lethal injection protocol as used during the failure. executions. The three drugs are: midazolam, a sedative, vecuronium bromide, a paralytic, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

Oklahoma prison officials recently announced that they have confirmed a source to supply all necessary drugs for seven executions that are scheduled for March.

“Extensive validations and redundancies have been in place since the last run to ensure the process works as intended,” the Department of Corrections said in a statement.

More than two dozen inmates on death row in Oklahoma are part of a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s lethal injection protocols, arguing that the three-drug method risks causing unconstitutional pain and suffering. The trial is scheduled for early next year.

Grant and five other death row inmates were removed from the lawsuit after none of them chose an alternative method of execution, which a federal judge said was necessary. But a three-member panel of the Denver-based United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit found that inmates identified alternative methods of execution, even if they did not specifically check a box indicating which technique they would use. The panel had on Wednesday granted a stay of execution for Grant and Jones, whose lethal injection is scheduled for November 18.

A law in South Carolina allows convicted prisoners to choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad. [File: Kinard Lisbon/South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP]

Grant and his attorneys have not denied that he killed Carter, but argued that the key facts about Grant’s crime and troubled childhood were never presented to the jury. They maintain that Grant developed deep feelings for Carter and was upset when she fired him after he got into a fight with another kitchen worker.

“Jurors never heard that Mr. Grant killed Ms. Gay Carter while in the heat of passion and despair over the abrupt end of the deepest and most important adult relationship of his life,” wrote his attorneys. in your request for clemency.

Carter’s daughter Pam Carter, who also worked at the prison and was there the day her mother was killed, rejected the idea that her mother and Grant had more than a professional relationship and urged state officials to move on. with the execution.

“I understand that you are trying to save her life, but you keep victimizing my mother with these stupid accusations,” she told the Board of Pardons and Paroles this month. “My mother was lively. She was friendly. She did not meet a stranger. He treated his workers as he would in an overseas job. Taking advantage of that is just outrageous. “


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