MCALESTER, Okla. (KFOR) – The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution application submitted by Oklahoma death row inmate Donald Grant.
Grant, convicted of murdering two people, submitted a stay of execution application through his legal team to Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday, Jan. 25. The Supreme Court denied the application on Wednesday.
Grant and Gilbert Postelle, another Oklahoma death row inmate, previously requested the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma block their scheduled execution, arguing the state’s lethal three-drug cocktail used in executions includes midazolam and causes “severe pain and suffering.” They cited ‘issues’ with John Marion Grant’s execution in October.
That federal court denied the death row inmates’ request on Jan. 14.
The court revisited details about John Grant’s execution, saying his actions prior to the execution led to some of the ‘mishaps.’
“The main difference between the Grant execution and the Stouffer execution is that Grant consumed significant quantities of Mr. Pibb and potato chips until very shortly before the restraint team arrived to take him from his cell to the execution chamber,” the documents stated.
The court said Grant and Postelle did not show that the state’s method of execution presented a “substantial risk of severe pain.”
Postelle and Grant appealed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but that court denied their motion on Monday, Jan. 24, according to the Associated Press.
Grant was convicted of killing Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith at a Del City hotel in July 2001. He confessed to the murders. Prosecutors said he stole the hotel’s money to bond his girlfriend out of jail. He told police he “couldn’t leave any witnesses.”
A KFOR article from April 29, 2015, says the state began using midazolam in their execution cocktail after pharmaceutical companies refused to provide pentobarbital, the sedatives formerly used to enforce the death penalty.
The cocktail became a lightning rod of controversy after two Oklahoma death row inmates, Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, suffered excruciating pain during each one’s respective execution, Lockett in 2014 and Warner 2015.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on June 29, 2015, that Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
However, the severe pain experienced by Lockett and Warner led to state officials putting executions on hold in 2015.
Capital punishment resumed in Oklahoma with the execution of John Grant.