Donald Anthony Grant execution live updates – Oklahoma inmate to be given death penalty today for murdering two women

OKLAHOMA death row inmate Donald Grant is set to be put to death on Thursday after a stay of execution was denied.

Donald Grant, 46, was convicted of murdering two hotel employees during a robbery in 2001.

The two women who were killed — 29-year-old Brenda McElyea and 43-year-old Felicia Suzette Smith — reportedly suffered gunshot and stab wounds.

Grant was 25 years old at the time of the robbery, according to the NY Post.

A petition to put an end to Grant's death sentence points to his reported mental health challenges and the fact that he was not fit to stand trial until 2005.

The US Supreme Court declined to halt the execution after Grant's attorneys argued that Oklahoma's three-drug mix for lethal injections is unconstitutional, The Associated Press reported.

Read our Donald Grant live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Brittney Donovan

    Motion to postpone execution date 

    Donald Grant‘s attorneys argued this week that Oklahoma’s current three-drug mix for lethal injections is unconstitutional, according to Newsweek.

    Judge Stephen Friot previously rejected the complaint about the drugs and said midazolam, a sedative used in lethal injections in Oklahoma, is reliable.

    Attorneys at the time argued midazolam has a substantial risk of severe pain.

  • Brittney Donovan

    When is Donald Grant being executed? 

    Donald Grant is scheduled to be put to death at 10am local time on Thursday, January 27, 2022.

    Oklahoma plans to execute him by lethal injection. 

  • Brittney Donovan

    Advocates fight for Donald Grant

    Advocates are arguing that Donald Grant is not the only mentally disabled death row inmate, and that his execution “won’t solve this problem.”

    “The death penalty targets the mentally disabled!” reads an image shared on Twitter.

    “The FACT that Mental Illness is so misunderstood is what put Donald on Death Row to begin with!”

  • Brittney Donovan

    Petition to halt execution

    The Action Network launched a petition to halt the execution of Donald Grant.

    The petition argues that Grant suffers from mental illness and brain damage, and should not be executed.

    "The jury never saw pictures of Mr. Grant’s visible brain damage or had an expert explain the impact this damage and his undisputed mental illness had on his crime and behavior," it reads.

    As of Wednesday evening, the petition had 6,984 signatures.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Why is Donald Grant on death row? Continued

    Grant admitted to the 2001 murders, though his attorneys claim he is severely mentally ill, local ABC affiliate KOCO reports.

    "Mr. Grant is well aware he’s going to be executed," attorney Susan Otto was quoted as saying.

    "He does not wish to be executed. He is afraid, and he understands that he may die like John Grant. And he’s terrified of that."

  • Brittney Donovan

    Why is Donald Grant on death row?

    Donald Grant was charged with a double murder during a robbery at a La Quinta Inn in Del City, Oklahoma, on July 18, 2001.

    He stood trial for killing two hotel employees: Brenda McElyea, 29, and Felicia Suzette Smith, 43.

    Grant was arrested in New York by members of a US Marshals task force.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Inmates' last meals, part three

    Convicted murderer Victor Feguer asked for a single olive with the pit still in it for his last meal.

    Death row inmate Thomas J. Grasso requested mussels, clams, a Burger King double cheeseburger, barbecued ribs, two milk shakes, pumpkin pie, diced strawberries, and SpaghettiOs but was given spaghetti instead.

    As Oklahoma moves forward with the execution of Grant on Thursday for a double homicide, it's not yet known what his last meal will be.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Inmates' last meals, part two

    James Edward Smith, a former priest convicted of murder in 1983, requested his last meal be rhaeakunda dirt, which is often associated with voodoo rituals.

    He said he wanted to use the dirt to mark his body so his spirit could move on.

    When his request was denied, Smith settled on a cup of yogurt.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Inmates' last meals

    In most states where capital punishment is still legal, death row inmates, like Donald Grant, are given a special last meal of their choosing.

    Restrictions apply in some parts of the country. For example, in Florida, the final meal has a maximum price tag of $40, and it must be able to be prepared locally.  

    Examples of bizarre meal requests range from a pile of dirt to Reese's Pieces and a Dr. Pepper.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Recent death sentence commuted, part two

    More than six million people signed a petition to spare the life of Julius Jones.

    Jones was arrested and charged with murder in 1999 when Paul Howell was shot in his 1997 GMC Suburban less than 20 miles away from Jones' home.

    Jones has maintained that he is innocent, claiming his co-defendant shot and killed Howell and pinned the slaying on him.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Recent death sentence commuted

    Death row inmate Julius Jones had his sentence commuted in November 2021 by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt hours before the planned execution.

    "After prayerful consideration and reviewing materials presented by all sides of this case, I have determined to commute Julius Jones' sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," Stitt said in a statement.

    Jones spent nearly 20 years on death row after he was convicted in the 1999 slaying of 45-year-old Oklahoma businessman Paul Howell.

  • Brittney Donovan

    When was Donald Grant's stay denied?

    Donald Grant's attorneys argued that Oklahoma's three-drug mix for lethal injections is unconstitutional, Newsweek reported.

    On Monday, January 24, 2022, a panel of three judges in the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion to postpone Grant's execution date.

    The judges ruled his attorneys were unable to prove US District Judge Stephen Friot abused his discretion when denying a motion about the lethal injection drugs.

    Judge Friot said in his ruling that midazolam, a sedative used in lethal injections in Oklahoma, is reliable.

    Attorneys at the time argued midazolam has a substantial risk of severe pain.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Who was Bigler Stouffer?

    Bigler Stouffer was the second death row inmate to be executed after Oklahoma resumed lethal injections in the state.

    The 79-year-old was killed on December 9 for a shooting that left Linda Reaves dead and her boyfriend, Doug Ivens, seriously hurt.

    A final appeal with the US Supreme Court was denied less than two hours before the scheduled execution.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Who was John Grant? part two

    Death row inmate John Grant shouted, convulsed "two dozen times" and vomited after an Oklahoma execution team delivered a three-drug lethal injection last October.

    Donald Grant's attorneys cited "issues" with John Grant's execution in their efforts to block his upcoming execution.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Who was John Grant?

    Convicted murderer John Grant, 60, was the first inmate since 2015 to be sentenced to death by lethal injection in Oklahoma.

    He was found guilty of fatally stabbing prison worker Gay Carter in 1998 while serving time for four armed robberies.

    He was sentenced to death in 2000 and executed on October 28, 2021.

  • Brittney Donovan

    When did lethal injections resume?

    Oklahoma stopped lethal injections for almost six years after two botched executions, according to local news station KOSU.

    Lethal injections resumed in fall of 2021 with the deaths of John Grant in October and Bigler Stouffer in December, the news outlet reported.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Death by firing squad

    Death row inmates Donald Grant and Gilbert Postelle requested to be executed by firing squad rather than the state's three-drug lethal injection.

    The pair wanted US District Judge Stephen Friot to grant them a temporary injunction to delay their upcoming executions.

    The motion was denied by the federal judge.

  • Brittney Donovan

    What has Donald Grant said?

    Grant said he was sorry and blamed the devil for the deaths of the hotel employees during a November 2021 clemency hearing.

    "First and foremost … I'd like to express my … sincere deep regrets and remorse for my actions," he was quoted as saying in The Oklahoman.

    "I know words can't bring them back. I understand. … I can't change that. You know, I wish I could and everything."

  • Brittney Donovan

    Can the governor intervene?

    Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt cannot intervene in Donald Grant's execution, according to The Oklahoman.

    His request wasn't sent to the governor after a 4-1 vote to reject clemency by the state's pardon and parole board, the news outlet reported.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Who is Gilbert Ray Postelle? part two

    The 10th Circuit of Appeals ruled this week that it won't block Postelle's execution.

    Postelle believed the four people he killed were responsible for hurting his father in a motorcycle accident, ABC affiliate KOCO reported.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Who is Gilbert Ray Postelle?

    Gilbert Postelle, 35, was sentenced to death in connection with four murders on Memorial Day of 2005, according to The Oklahoman.

    Postelle is set to be executed on February 17 for two of the murders.

    He received life in prison without parole for the other two, the newspaper reported.

  • Brittney Donovan

    Oklahoma executions

    Grant's planned execution on Thursday will be the third in Oklahoma since lethal injections resumed last year in the state, The Oklahoman reported.

    A US appeals court denied another stay of execution this week for death row inmate Gilbert Ray Postelle.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Advocates fight for Donald Grant

    Advocates are arguing that Donald Grant is not the only mentally disabled death row inmate, and that his execution "won't solve this problem."

    "The death penalty targets the mentally disabled!" reads an image shared on Twitter.

    "The FACT that Mental Illness is so misunderstood is what put Donald on Death Row to begin with!"

  • Jennifer Korn

    Criticism of South Carolina's law

    The recent decision to use firing squads as an additional method to execute inmates on death row has been criticized by rights groups. 

    “These are execution methods that previously were replaced by lethal injection, which is considered more humane, Lindsey Vann of Justice 360 told the Associated Press after the law change.

    "It makes South Carolina the only state going back to the less humane execution methods.”

    South Carolina carried out around three executions per year between 1996 and 2009.

  • Jennifer Korn

    South Carolina's new law

    Donald Grant's impeding lethal injection comes less than a year after South Carolina issued a new law, which allows death row inmates to choose between execution by electric chair or firing squad.

    “The families and loved ones of victims are owed closure and justice by law. Now, we can provide it,” McMaster said at the time on Twitter.

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