John Grant: Oklahoma kills first inmate since 2015, but witness reports convulsing and vomiting during execution


The first drug used during John Grant’s execution was midazolam, a sedative that some states have introduced into enforcement proceedings in recent years because drug companies have banned the use of other drugs.
The use of midazolam has been controversial, as critics of the death penalty have argued that it is not an analgesic anesthetic.
On Thursday, Grant began having seizures almost immediately after administering midazolam – the first in Oklahoma’s lethal three-drug injection protocol – according to the CNN affiliate. KOKH reporter Dan Snyder, who attended the execution at McAlester State Penitentiary, Oklahoma.

“His entire upper back has been lifted off the stretcher several times,” Snyder said. “As the convulsions continued, Grant then began to vomit.”

Over the next few minutes, medical staff entered the room several times to wipe up and remove the vomit from the still breathing Grant, according to Snyder. Grant was declared unconscious by medical staff at around 4:15 p.m.

The second and third drugs were administered a minute later, according to Snyder.

The time of death was 4:21 p.m. CT, according to Oklahoma Corrections spokesperson Justin Wolf.

Grant was convicted in 2000 of first degree murder for killing prison worker Gay Carter in the kitchen at Correctional Institution Dick Conner in 1998. Prior to this murder, Grant was serving what amounted to jail time at life for multiple convictions for armed robbery, show state correctional records.

“Inmate Grant’s execution was performed according to Oklahoma Department of Corrections protocols and without complications,” Wolf said.

Grant’s lethal injection came hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ruling that had granted a stay of execution.

A series of controversies and postponements

Grant’s execution was Oklahoma’s first since January 2015, after which the state imposed a moratorium on lethal injections following a series of controversies.

The premiere took place in April 2014, when Oklahoma executed Clayton Lockett. After being injected with midazolam, instead of losing consciousness, he twitched, had a seizure and spoke. The execution process was halted, but Lockett died less than an hour later of a heart attack.
Lockett’s execution was the first time Oklahoma has used midazolam as the first drug in its three-drug cocktail. Until around 2010, states used a fairly standard lethal injection formula that included sodium thiopental anesthetic. But after the only US manufacturer stopped making the drug and European companies refused to sell it for use in executions, states faced drug shortages for the deadly cocktail and sought alternatives.
Oklahoma and six other states switched to midazolam as a replacement.
After Lockett’s execution, so-Gov. Mary Fallin ordered a review of state procedures, which lasted five months. In a September 2014 report, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said complications from placing an IV in Lockett played a significant role in problems with his execution.
The state adopted a new performance protocol this month that included increasing the dose of midazolam.
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In January 2015, Oklahoma put inmate Charles Warner to death with revised procedure. It would ultimately be Oklahoma’s last execution until Thursday.
Days after Warner’s execution, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which inmates argued that the Oklahoma protocol violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The High Court in June 2015 upheld Oklahoma’s use of midazolam by a 5-4 vote.
Oklahoma was next to execute inmate Richard Glossip in the fall of 2015, but that was rescinded when the state learned that a supplier had sent the Department of Corrections potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride. . Potassium chloride, the third drug in the Oklahoma protocol, is used in executions to stop the hearts of inmates.

A grand jury then reviewed the execution protocol and recommended revisions to the protocol, including verification of execution drugs at each stage and more training for the execution team. The revised protocol still includes the use of midazolam.

Oklahoma announced last year that it would resume executions with revisions.

Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Corrections said in a press release: “After spending considerable hours reviewing policies and practices to ensure that executions are handled humanely, efficiently and in accordance with state law and court rulings, Oklahoma Corrections is prepared to resume executions in the state of Oklahoma. “

“ODOC continues to use the approved three-drug protocol that has been shown to be humane and effective. The agency confirmed a source to provide the necessary drugs for all currently scheduled executions. Extensive validations and redundancies have been implemented since the last run to ensure the process works as intended, “the statement said.

Statement by Grant’s lawyer

Grant’s attorney, Sarah Jernigan, said in a statement to CNN on Thursday: “John Grant took full responsibility for the murder of Gay Carter, and he spent his years on death row trying to understand and understand. ‘atone for his actions, more than any other client I have worked with.

“Through it all, John never received the mental health care he needed or deserved in prison. And when he finally committed a violent crime, the murder of a prison employee, Oklahoma provided him with incompetent lawyers who had nothing to do with the ultimate punishment at stake, ”Jernigan wrote.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect last name for Grant’s victim. She was Gay Carter.

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