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Oklahoma first to execute in 2022, kills Donald Grant

by Deon Osborne, Associate Editor
donald grant oklahoma executions
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After the U.S. Supreme Court denied his request for a stay, Oklahoma proceeded with its planned execution of Donald Anthony Grant.

Grant, 46, was declared dead at 10:16 on Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, according to the Oklahoman.

It marks the third execution of an Oklahoma detainee since the state’s attorney general removed a moratorium on capital punishment. For nearly seven years, a moratorium had been in place on executions in the state due to several botched attempts.

Grant was sentenced to die for the murder of Del City hotel workers Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith in 2001. Yet, the state ignored Donald Grant’s schizophrenic mental illness and proceeded with his state-sanctioned murder.

To be sure, the murdered victims were shot, stabbed, and beaten. Grant confessed to committing the brutal crimes in order to steal money to bail his girlfriend out of jail.

Meanwhile, at least one psychologist reported in 2001 that Grant “lapses into paranoid ramblings regarding the President, CIA, FBI, Congress, and, most significantly when I saw him, the United Nations being of the devil and going against the ‘Five percenters’ who are the ‘true believers.'”

“Executing someone as mentally ill and brain damaged as Donald Grant is out of step with evolving standards of decency,” his attorneys previously told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board at a hearing asking for clemency.

donald grant oklahoma executions

The Associated Press
FILE – This undated photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Donald Anthony Grant. A federal judge has declined to temporarily halt the upcoming lethal injections of Oklahoma death row inmates Grant and Gilbert Postelle. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

Executions decline nationally while some states ramp it up

Ahead of the execution, organizers from Death Penalty Action and the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty held a vigil outside the governor’s mansion.

While the Parole Board voted 4-1 to deny Grant clemency, Governor Stitt refused to use his executive powers to halt capital punishment. It’s a sign that future executions will continue despite Julius Jones’ commuted sentence in November of 2021.

Taking a life for a life, Oklahoma continues to cement its status as the second-most active death penalty state in the nation.

An upcoming trial on the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol takes place on February 28. Meanwhile, the state has refused to halt executions before the trial’s outcome. Donald Grant wasn’t allowed to enter the lawsuit that sparked the trial.

Overall, executions have trended down nationally, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Yet states like Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas and others continue to seek creative ways to distribute retribution. Alabama was also set to execute a mentally ill Black man on Thursday. However, Matthew Reeves was granted a stay of his execution by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, citing an intellectual disability.

“We can see the end of the death penalty coming in the United States,” said Abraham Bonowitz of Death Penalty Action. “But first it’s likely to get bloody.”

Meanwhile, Attorney General John O’Connor cheered on the execution.

“The State’s execution of Donald Grant was carried out with zero complications at 10:16 this morning. Justice is now served for Brenda McElyea, Felecia Suzette Smith, and the people of Oklahoma,” The AG’s office said in a statement.

6 comments

Melania January 27, 2022 - 7:28 pm

He definitely won’t shoot, beat, and stab any more defenseless women again. He gave up his rights when he took their right to live.

D A Davis January 28, 2022 - 8:49 am

He admitted that he had killed them. There was no doubt of his guilt. Part of the function of the law is to protect his rights but the other parts are to discourage others from committing crimes and make the law-abiding general public (of all races) safer. The execution was appropriate.

Deon Osborne, Associate Editor January 28, 2022 - 8:55 am

If you look at another one of our articles concerning polled police chiefs, you’ll find evidence indicating capital punishment doesn’t deter crime.

Юрий Синиок (@USiniok) January 28, 2022 - 12:17 am

Insignificant left cries over the body of the killer. You should be thrown into the same cell with Grant.

প্রেমিকার জন্য চুরি করতে গিয়ে খুন, অতঃপর যে ভয়ঙ্কর শাস্তি হল যুবকের! - Nan Tv January 28, 2022 - 2:47 am

[…] এরপর এই শাস্তি প্রক্রিয়াকে নিষিদ্ধ করে আমেরিকার সংবিধান। তবু ছাড় পেলেন না প্রেমিকার জন্য খুন ও চুরির মামলায় দোষী সাব্যস্ত হওয়া ডোনাল্ড গ্রান্ট। সূত্র: ফক্স নিউজ, এমসি অ্যালেস্টার নিউজ, দ্য ব্লাকওয়াল স্ট্রিট টাইমস […]

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