Update: Convicted murder John Grant was executed by the State of Oklahoma on Thursday, Oct. 28,2021 after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the stay of execution.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “You think you’re finally going to heal and everything is finally going to settle down, and then something opens that wound back up. So it’s been an emotional roller coaster,” Pam Carter said. “And today was another one.”
On Friday the 13th in November 1998, inmate John Grant murdered Gay Carter. He stabbed her 16 times with a shank.
“Just when you kind of think you’ve got a handle on your emotions, things come back up, and the wound is opened back up,” Pam said.
This week has been a whirlwind of emotion for Pam.
Her mother’s killer was scheduled to be executed on Thursday. However, on Wednesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay in Grant’s execution date.
Grant’s attorneys argued that an agreement was previously made with former Attorney General Mike Hunter that no executions would take place for the time being because of an upcoming trial, which challenges whether Oklahoma’s execution protocol, a three-drug cocktail, is legal.
The State of Oklahoma has since filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that the stay of execution be vacated.
Gay Carter was an employee at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy and worked in the kitchen. Pam worked there, too. She says Grant got upset with her mother when he did not get a tray of food that he wanted. Within days, Grant stabbed her mother to death.
“I was working the day she was killed at Dick Conner Correctional Center,” Pam said. “I saw mom on the ground, but I got to say, ‘Mom, I love you.’ I got to say, I got to holler, ‘Mom, I love you,’ before I had to get out of the way.”
In the 23 years since that day, Pam Carter has never given a television interview until now.
“I hope she was gone, because he brutally stabbed her. The terror, how scared she must have been. How hurt she must have been. I hope she went quickly just so she wasn’t suffering, because he brutally stabbed her,” she said.
Though nothing will bring back her mother, Pam will not leave.
“Why do you still work for the Department of Corrections?”
“Stubborn. Stubborn. I’m not going to let that run me off. Stubbornness and my coworkers.”
“Do you feel like you’re standing your ground for your mother?”
For the most part, Pam has ignored news reports, phones calls from reporters and the rumors she says Grant’s attorneys used as defense tactics earlier this month at his clemency hearing, claiming that her mother had been in a relationship with Grant.
“Do you believe any of that? This crime of passion?”
“Does that anger you?”
“Yes. He’s trying to get his sentence reduced, and this is a tactic. I understand the tactic, but victim blaming? She did this so therefore she made me kill her? Really? You’re going to blame the victim?”
As difficult as it is to relentlessly face, Pam was going to face Grant one last time and watch his execution.
“My theory about the death penalty is there are some crimes that are so reprehensible that that is the ultimate option, because it is not about revenge. It is not about revenge. It is about keeping another person safe. I want to make sure that this does not happen to anybody else, that nobody has to go through what I and my family has had to go through,” she said. “The main thing it would have done for me, I think, is so I could say, ‘Mom, he’s not going to hurt anybody else,’ because that’s what this is about, not letting him hurt someone else.”
At the time of Carter’s murder, Grant was serving time for multiple robberies with firearms. In 2005, Grant attacked another inmate and also threatened prison workers in 2008 and in 2009.