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In Oklahoma's first execution since botched lethal injection nearly seven years ago, John Grant convulses, vomits repeatedly before dying

The gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.
Sue Ogrocki
The gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.

For the first time in nearly seven years, Oklahoma has executed a death row inmate.

John Marion Grant
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
John Marion Grant

John Marion Grant was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 4:21 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Grant, 60, was convicted in the stabbing death of prison kitchen worker Gay Carter in 1998 while Grant was serving a 17-year sentence for armed robbery.

Five media members were selected by a random draw to witness the execution. They recounted that Grant convulsed two dozen times and vomited multiple times after the administration of midazolam, the first of the three drug cocktail.

The Associated Press reports experts said that someone vomiting while being executed is rare.

Based on the reporting of the eyewitnesses to the execution, for the third time in a row, Oklahoma’s execution protocol did not work as it was designed to. This is why the Tenth Circuit stayed John Grant’s execution and this is why the U.S. Supreme Court should not have lifted the stay," said Dale Baich, one of the attorneys for the death row plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the state. "There should be no more executions in Oklahoma until we go to trial in February to address the state’s problematic lethal injection protocol."

The federal lawsuit brought on by more than two dozen death row inmates challenges the constitutionality of Oklahoma's lethal injection procedures.

Grant and death row inmate Julius Jones had won a brief stay of execution by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, using the argument they should not be executed before the lawsuit goes to court.

But just hours before Grant was to be executed, the U.S. Supreme court lifted the stay and the death sentence was carried out.

"At least now we are starting to get justice for our loved ones," Carter’s daughter, Pamela Gay Carter, said in a statement. "The death penalty is about protecting any potential future victims. Even after Grant was removed from society, he committed an act of violence that took an innocent life. I pray that justice prevails for all the other victims’ loved ones. My heart and prayers go out to you all."

Jones has an execution date of Nov. 18, but is set to have his request for clemency heard by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Monday.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Ryan LaCroix joined KOSU’s staff in 2013. He hosts All Things Considered, Oklahoma Rock Show, Oklahoma Rock Show: Rewind, and Oklahoma Music Minute.
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