MCALESTER, Okla. — The State of Oklahoma executed Donald Anthony Grant on Thursday in its first execution of 2022.
Grant faced a death sentence for the 2001 shooting and killing of Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith, the manager and desk clerk of a Del City motel where he had applied for a job the day before.
Below are updates from the execution at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester:
Witnesses gave details about Grant's execution shortly after it happened.
A total of 18 witnesses were in the room, including local media, in Grant's final moments.
Sean Murphy with the Associated Press was one of the witnesses of the execution. He's witnessed 16 executions, including five with the new three-drug cocktail.
Murphy says Grant had a lot of last words to say and kept talking after the mic was cut off. He says Grant also had tears in his eyes. 2 News' Naomi Keitt confirms also seeing tears coming down his face.
His breathing became labored at 10:05 a.m. before appearing to be unconscious a moment later.
Consciousness was checked at 10:08 a.m. and later pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m.
A witness from the Oklahoman describes the execution as "uneventful" and similar to last month's execution of Bigler Stouffer.
Oklahoma executed Donald Anthony Grant in the first lethal injection of 2022. Grant's official time of death was 10:16 a.m.
Preparations are underway in McAlester for the scheduled execution of Donald Anthony Grant Thursday morning.
Grant is sentenced to death for the 2001 shooting and killing of Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith, the manager and desk clerk of a Del City motel where he had applied for a job the day before.
This marks the first execution of 2022. It comes after weeks of debate about the state's execution methods.
Since then, many death row inmates and their legal teams have submitted requests to courts to put a pause on executions.
Gilbert Postelle and Donald Anthony Grant both asked for a temporary injunction to delay their executions until after a trial challenges whether Oklahoma's current execution protocols are considered to be constitutional. The trial is currently set to start on Feb. 28.
A federal judge denied the request. Grant and Postelle have since asked for a firing squad as an alternative to receiving the lethal injection. ODOC does not currently have alternative execution protocols in place for any method other than lethal injection.
The U.S. Supreme Court has also denied Grant’s application for a temporary stay of execution on Wednesday.
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