29 October 2021 :
John Grant executed. Witness reports he convulsed and vomited during execution.
John Marion Grant, now 60, Black, was declared dead at 4:21 pm at the state penitentiary in McAlester.
Grant was the first inmate to be put to death in Oklahoma since a series of botched executions in 2015 led to a temporary moratorium on capital punishment in the state due to problems with the lethal-injection procedure. The moratorium decision came after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in 2014 (see HoC 29/04/2014) and the 2015 execution of Charles Warner (See HoC 15/01/2015) using the wrong drug.
Grant was serving a 130-year prison sentence for several armed robberies when witnesses say he dragged Gay Carter, 58, White, a prison cafeteria worker, into a mop closet and stabbed her 16 times with a homemade shank at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy.
He was sentenced to death in 1999. His execution had been put on hold by a lower court (10th US circuit court of appeals) because of concerns about the drug cocktail being used to carry out the execution, but early in the afternoon the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, lifted the stay and allowed it to go ahead.
Before the curtain was raised to allow witnesses to see into the execution chamber, Grant could be heard yelling, “Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!” He delivered a stream of profanities before the lethal injection started.
After he was injected with the first sedative midazolam at 4pm, Grant's body became violently ill.
"He began convulsing about two-dozen times, full-body convulsions, and began to vomit, which covered his face and began to run down his neck and to the side of his face,” said Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy, one of the witnesses to Grant's execution.
Minutes past before two members of the execution team wiped away the vomit from his face and neck.
Murphy noted that Grant fell into unconsciousness at 4:15pm before the remaining dozes of both vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride were administered.
Grant's heart stopped at 4:16pm and five minutes later he was declared dead by corrections director Scott Crow. That's when Murphy noted the curtains came down in the viewing gallery.
According to DOC protocol, he was offered a mild sedative 4 hours before the execution. The drugs used are midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride.
Oklahoma prison officials recently announced that they had confirmed a source to supply all the drugs needed for Grant’s execution plus six more that are scheduled to take place through March.
In March 2018, Oklahoma announced that it would use nitrogen gas to execute condemned inmates because it could not find the drugs for the lethal-injection process. A law in 2015 allowed for nitrogen hypoxia to be used as an execution method. Two years after the announcement about using nitrogen gas, the state said it had secured a reliable source for the drugs and would resume executions by lethal injection.
Grant becomes the 1st inmate executed this year in Oklahoma, the 113rd since Oklahoma resumed executions in 1990, the 9th this year in the US, and the 1,538th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.