US death row inmate pressing lawsuit against ‘inhumane & painful’ lethal injection method ‘convulsed & vomited’ during execution
An Oklahoma death row inmate who sued the state over its lethal injection protocol – deeming it painful and inhumane – has been executed by the same drug cocktail, with one witness saying he convulsed dozens of times before dying.
John Grant, 60, was executed by lethal injection at 4:21pm local time on Thursday, according to state officials. He was the first death row prisoner to be executed in the state since 2015, after several botched attempts prompted a temporary pause on capital punishment.
A convicted murderer, Grant was administered a three-drug cocktail, which is meant to first sedate and anesthetize the prisoner before ultimately killing them while unconscious, painlessly. However, one media witness to the death, Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy, said Grant’s execution did not appear tranquil, and that the inmate had a violent reaction to one of the substances.
“As the drugs began to flow, the first drug, midazolam, he exhaled deeply,” Murphy said during a news briefing, referring to a powerful benzodiazepine sedative, adding “He began convulsing, about two dozen times, full body convulsions,” and also started vomiting.
I’ve never seen an inmate vomit. I’ve witnessed about 14 executions and I’ve never witnessed that before.
Murphy noted that Grant was still breathing even after his face was covered with vomit, and that a prison staffer cleaned him up before he was ultimately pronounced dead.
You need to hear AP reporter Sean Murphy’s account of Oklahoma’s execution of John Grant https://t.co/NtOyNbCecN— Dianne Gallagher (@DianneG) October 28, 2021
For lethal injections, the state’s prison system first administers midazolam to induce unconsciousness, followed by vecuronium bromide – a general anesthetic – and finally potassium chloride, which is intended to stop the heart.
However, the three-drug protocol has come under fire as potentially inhumane, including by Grant himself, who was a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit arguing the lethal injection method carried “a substantial risk of severe pain” and violated constitutional protections against “cruel and unusual punishment.” The suit was set to go to trial next year.
Earlier this week, Grant and another condemned prisoner, Julius Jones, were given a temporary stay which postponed their executions to allow their appeals to play out in court. But just one day later, the US Supreme Court overturned that ruling at the request of state prosecutors, clearing the way for Grant’s execution on Thursday, as well as Jones’ on November 18.
One of Grant’s lawyers, Dale Baich, deemed his execution “problematic,” arguing capital punishments in the state should be halted until the legal challenge to the injection procedure goes to trial in February.
Grant was placed on death row for the 1998 murder of Gay Carter, a female cafeteria worker at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy, Oklahoma. Already serving out sentences for multiple armed robberies at the time, Grant reportedly stabbed Carter 16 times with a makeshift weapon over a minor dispute over a tray of food.
Carter’s daughter, Paula – who was employed at the same jail and was on-shift the day of her mother’s murder – reacted to Grant’s execution in a statement on Thursday, defending capital punishment as a way to protect “future victims” from repeat offenders.
“At least now we are starting to get justice for our loved ones. The death penalty is about protecting any future victims,” she said. “Even after Grant was removed from society, he committed an act of violence that took an innocent life.”Also on rt.com My life in a US death-row prison complex plagued by killings, Covid and abuse, while the executioners get busy
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