Speed Reads

capital punishment

Oklahoma resumes executions after 6 years

Oklahoma put to death John Marion Grant on Thursday afternoon, the state's first execution in six years.

Grant, 60, was sentenced to death in 1999 for the 1998 murder of prison cafeteria worker Gay Carter, who was stabbed 16 times with a shank. At the time, Grant was serving a 130-year sentence for multiple armed robberies.

A moratorium on executions was put in place in Oklahoma following botched lethal injections in 2014 and 2015, but last year, the state announced it was going to start up executions again, using the same three drugs: the sedative midazolam; a paralytic called vecuronium bromide; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. On Wednesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted stays of execution for Grant and another death row inmate, Julius Jones, but those were lifted by the Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision. 

Before the first drug was administered on Thursday, The Associated Press reports Grant was heard cursing and yelling "Let's go! Let's go! Let's go!" After receiving the sedative, Grant began to convulse and throw up. He was declared dead about 20 minutes later. In a statement, Carter's daughter, Pamela, said 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."

Jones is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 18. He has always maintained his innocence in the murder of a businessman named Paul Howell, and in September, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended his death sentence be commuted. He has a clemency hearing set for Tuesday, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) said he would decide on Jones' case after this.