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Donald Grant: Oklahoma executes disabled Black man by lethal injection despite lawsuit

The state of Oklahoma has executed Donald Grant, a 46-year-old disabled Black man convicted of two murders, by lethal injection despite a lawsuit against the method.

Grant became the first person to be executed in 2022. He admitted to killing Brenda McElyea, 29, and Felicia Suzette Smith, 43, during a 2001 robbery to stop them from identifying him.

The Supreme Court denied a request for an emergency stay of execution on Wednesday while calls were made to end the death penalty.

Grant was executed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He had requested to be executed by firing squad but was denied.

The execution was carried out a month before the start of a federal lawsuit begins challenging the lethal injection drugs as an unconstitutional, cruel, and unusual punishment that makes people feel like they’re being “burned alive”.

Grant, who was diagnosed with mental health challenges, said he sought the $200 he stole during the robbery more than two decades ago to bail his girlfriend out of jail.

Before his execution, Grant said he regretted his actions and blamed the devil for the murders, according to the Mirror.

“First and foremost, I’d like to express my sincere deep regrets and remorse for my actions,” he said. “I know words can’t bring them back. I understand … I can’t change that. You know, I wish I could and everything.”

A small group of people protested the execution outside the jail. Grant’s lawyers argued during a clemency hearing in November that he was suffering from mental illness and brain damage and should be given mercy.

Grant said he felt “deep, sincere remorse”, adding in front of the board that he “can’t change” what happened. “If I could, I would, but I can’t change that.”

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 against recommending clemency.

More follows…

The Independent and the nonprofit Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ) have launched a joint campaign calling for an end to the death penalty in the US. The RBIJ has attracted more than 150 well-known signatories to their Business Leaders Declaration Against the Death Penalty – with The Independent as the latest on the list. We join high-profile executives like Ariana Huffington, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson as part of this initiative and are making a pledge to highlight the injustices of the death penalty in our coverage.


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