Oklahoma puts first inmate to death since 2015, but witness reports he convulsed and vomited during execution

Oklahoma puts first inmate to death since 2015, but witness reports he convulsed and vomited during execution
AP

Hours after the US Supreme Court vacated a ruling that granted a stay of execution for death row inmate John Grant, a witness to the execution on Thursday said Grant convulsed and vomited after the first drug, Midazolam, was administered.

Midazolam was also used in Oklahoma’s 2014 controversial execution of Clayton Lockett. Instead of becoming unconscious, Lockett twitched, convulsed and spoke.

According to CNN affiliate KOKH reporter Dan Snyder, who attended the execution at the state penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma, Grant began convulsing almost immediately after the first drug was administered.

“His entire upper back repeatedly lifted off the gurney,” Snyder said. “As the convulsions continued, Grant then began to vomit.”

For the next few minutes, medical staff entered the room multiple times to wipe away and remove vomit from the still-breathing Grant, according to Snyder. Grant was declared unconscious by medical staff at about 4:15 pm.

The doses of the second and third drugs used were administered a minute later, according to Snyder.

The time of death was 4:21 p.m., local time, according to Oklahoma Corrections Communications Director Justin Wolf.

Grant was convicted in 2000 for first-degree murder of prison worker Gay Adams in the kitchen of the Dick Conner Correctional Facility in 1998.

“Inmate Grant’s execution was carried out in accordance with Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ protocols and without complication,” Wolf said.

Oklahoma hasn’t executed a death row inmate since January 2015, when Charles Warner was put to death by lethal injection. Another inmate, Richard Glossip, was scheduled to be executed in September of that year but then-Gov. Mary Fallin called for it to be postponed.

Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said in a news release, “After investing significant hours into reviewing policies and practices to ensure that executions are handled humanely, efficiently, and in accordance with state statute and court rulings, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is prepared to resume executions in the state of Oklahoma.”

“ODOC continues to use the approved three drug protocol which has proven humane and effective. The agency has confirmed a source to supply the drugs needed for all currently scheduled executions. Extensive validations and redundancies have been implemented since the last execution in order to ensure that the process works as intended,” added the release.

An attorney for Grant, Sarah Jernigan, said in a statement to CNN on Thursday, “John Grant took full responsibility for the murder of Gay Carter, and he spent his years on death row trying to understand and atone for his actions, more than any other client I have worked with.

“Through all of this, John never received the mental health care he needed or deserved in prison. And when he eventually committed a violent crime, the murder of a prison worker, Oklahoma provided him with incompetent lawyers who had no business handling a case with the ultimate punishment at stake,” Jernigan wrote.

The-CNN-Wire
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