Two Oklahoma death row inmates are set to be executed by lethal injection after the courts denied their bid to be executed by firing squad.
On Friday, a federal judge declined to temporarily halt the executions of Oklahoma inmates Donald Grant and Gilbert Postelle, 35, in the upcoming weeks after the men sought to avoid the state’s three-drug lethal injection method and instead asked to be put to death by firing squad.
Grant, 45, was convicted of killing two Del City hotel workers in 2001, while Postelle was convicted and sentenced to die for his role in a quadruple slaying in 2005 after targeting people he believed had injured his dad in a motorcycle accident.
Pictured: Donald Anthony Grant, left, and Gilbert Postelle, right, Oklahoma death row inmates who requested a firing squad instead of lethal injection after recent botched executions
Pictured: the gurney in the the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma
Grant is scheduled to be put to death on January 27, while Postelle is set for execution on February 17.
In his order, U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot wrote that Grant and Postelle were not likely to succeed in their claims that Oklahoma´s three-drug lethal injection method presents the risk of subjecting them to severe pain and suffering.
Friot oversaw a hearing on Monday that included testimony from several doctors and witnesses to the October execution of John Grant, who vomited and convulsed on the gurney after being injected with midazolam, a sedative that is the first of Oklahoma’s three-drug method.
Friot, who also heard testimony from the prison official who oversaw John Grant’s execution, said the inmate’s consumption of large amounts of soda and potato chips right before his execution likely led to the problems.
John Marion Grant (left) vomited and convulsed during his execution in Oklahoma for the killing of Gay Carter (right)
‘The result of that for Grant was that, soon after the first drug was pushed into the IV line, and as he lay unconscious, restrained in a supine position on the gurney, Grant’s gastric contents flowed toward his head and out of his mouth,’ Friot wrote. ‘Combined with that was the fact that – also because he was unconscious and lying supine – Grant´s airway was obstructed by his tongue, causing him to noticeably struggle to breathe while, at essentially the same time, regurgitating.
‘The important point here is that all of this occurred while Grant was unconscious and insensate to pain as a result of the administration of a massive dose of midazolam,’ he concluded.
Friot also determined that Donald Grant and Postelle selected an alternative method of execution, firing squad, too late to be included in a separate lawsuit challenging Oklahoma’s lethal injection method as unconstitutional.
A hearing in that case, in which more than two dozen death row inmates are challenging the state’s three-drug method, is scheduled to begin next month.
Friot, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, required all the plaintiffs in that case to select an alternative method of execution.
Oklahoma has never used firing squad as a method of executing prisoners since statehood, but current state law does allow for its use if other methods, like lethal injection, were determined to be unconstitutional or otherwise unavailable.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections does not currently have execution protocols in place for any method other than lethal injection.
The drug mix-ups followed a botched execution in April 2014 in which inmate Clayton Lockett struggled on a gurney before dying 43 minutes into his lethal injection – and after the state’s prisons chief ordered executioners to stop.
One of Donald Grant’s federal public defenders, Emma Rolls, declined to comment on the judge’s ruling but filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
Source: Daily Mail