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Oklahoma's history of death penalty issues

State Question 776 passes: Oklahomans agree to amend state Constitution to affirm death penalty
Posted at 3:17 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 19:06:11-04

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma made plans to carry out its first execution on Thursday since a series of botched procedures six years ago.

Despite efforts by several death row inmates and their attorneys, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a delay on executions in the state only hours before the scheduled time for John Grantto have his death sentence carried out.

Grant is the first of seven newly scheduled lethal injections announced by the state in September.

The state announced in February 2020 that it was ready to resume executions about five years after a series of mishaps prompted a moratorium on carrying out death row inmates' sentences.

2014 - Botched execution of Clayton Lockett

Clayton Lockett was sentenced to death in the 1999 Kay County shooting of a 19-year-old woman who he watched get buried alive.

Lockett's execution took place in April 2014 where witnesses say he writhed in pain, pulling against his restraints and clenching his teeth following the three-drug injection. Prison officials called for a halt to the execution before Lockett died of a heart attack shortly after.

2015 - Botched execution of Charles Warner

Charles Warner was sentenced to death in the 1997 rape and killing of an 11-month-old girl in Oklahoma City.

Warner's execution in January 2015 brought into question the drugs being used to kill the inmates.

A reported mixup in the three-drug procedure had Warner saying "my body is on fire" in the death chamber before being pronounced dead about 18 minutes later.

According to the Associated Press, the drug mixup could have been making the process of killing Warner take much longer than intended.

2015 - Drug mixup ahead of Richard Glossip execution

Richard Glossip, sentenced to death in the 1997 beating death of his boss in Oklahoma City, was in line to be executed after Charles Warner's botched execution until prison officials determined they were still receiving the wrong drugs for the lethal injection only hours before Glossip's execution.

Then-Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced a moratorium on executions in the state at that point citing the need for a review of the state's death penalty procedures.

September 2021 - First executions announced after moratorium

The State of Oklahoma filed for the first set of executions in September after the lifting of the moratorium.

  • John Grant: Oct. 28
  • Julius Jones: Nov. 18
  • Bigler Stouffer: Dec. 9
  • Wade Lay: Jan. 6
  • Donald Grant: Jan. 27
  • Gilbert Postelle: Feb. 17
  • James Coddington: March 10

Attorneys for several death row inmates continued to hold out for a federal trial challenging Oklahoma's death penalty procedures scheduled for February 2022.

Despite the granting of a delay for John Grant and Julius Jones, the state appealed the delay to the U.S. Supreme Court who lifted the delay the next day only hours ahead of Grant's Oct. 28 execution.

Oct. 28, 2021 - Execution of John Grant

John Grant's execution happened shortly after 4 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2021 in the state's first lethal injection in nearly seven years.

Media witnesses say Grant vomited after the injection of the first drug and began convulsing similarly to the 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett.

MORE >>> John Grant executed in Oklahoma's first lethal injection since 2015

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