Death row inmate suffers from vomiting and convulsions during execution

the essential John Grant was sentenced to death this Thursday 21 October in the US state of Oklahoma. His executioners used a lethal cocktail suspected of causing excruciating pain, which shook the condemned man with vomiting and convulsions.

This Thursday 21 October, a man walked on death row in the state of Oklahoma. John Grant, 60 years old, was injected with a lethal cocktail suspected of causing excruciating pain. He was then shaken by vomiting and convulsions during his execution.

After receiving the green light from the Supreme Court of the United States, the prison authorities of this conservative southern state injected him with three substances and his death was pronounced in 16 H 21 (21 H 21 GMT). John Grant was sentenced in 1998 to death for the murder of a prison employee.

This protocol had already been applied in 2014 and 2015, but the apparent suffering of the detainees had led to the State to declare a moratorium on executions. John Grant “began to convulse shortly after injecting the first product,” said US agency AP reporter Sean Murphy, who witnessed the scene. According to him, he convulsed about 20 times and vomited several times before dying. “I witnessed executions, I had never seen that before,” added the journalist. .

The condemned man’s ordeal immediately aroused strong criticism. “Oklahoma had sabotaged its last three execution attempts before its six-year hiatus, but apparently learned nothing from that experience,” said Robert Dunham, who heads the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). “For the third time in a row, the Oklahoma execution protocol has not worked properly,” added Dale Baich, lawyer for several convicts including John Grant. “There should be no more executions in Oklahoma until the trial begins in February,” which will deal with this specific point, he added.

” My body is burning “

“The execution of the prisoner Grant was carried out in accordance with the protocols of the correctional services of Oklahoma and without complications”, defended in a statement Justin Wolf, the director of the communications of the penitentiary services. The latter had said a few days ago that their protocol was “humane and efficient” and that the executions could resume.

Lawyer Dale Baich, however, stressed that there remained “serious questions” about the pain caused by this lethal cocktail and its compliance with the US Constitution which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment”. Wednesday an appeal court had ruled in his favor and suspended the execution. But the authorities in Oklahoma immediately seized the Supreme Court of the United States to ask it to reverse this decision. Without explaining its reasons, the high court finally gave the green light to execution in extremis. Its three progressive judges, however, made it clear that they disagreed with the Conservative majority.

The contested protocol combines a sedative, midazolam, and an anesthetic, believed to prevent pain before the lethal-dose potassium chloride injection. It had been used in 2014 to execute Clayton Lockett, but the convict was in agony for 28 minutes in apparent suffering. In 2015, another convict, Charles Warner, had complained that his “body burned” before going out, the executioners having used a non-conforming product. The same error was almost reproduced in September 2015 and an execution was postponed in extremis.

Another execution on 18 November

Following these failures, a grand jury opened an investigation and the authorities agreed to suspend the application of the death penalty.

In 2020, they finalized a new protocol and fixed in 2021 several execution dates, starting with that of John Grant. In 1998, he killed with a screwdriver a woman who worked in the prison cafeteria where he was serving time for an armed robbery.

Oklahoma also plans to execute on 18 Julius Jones, an African American from 41 years, sentenced in 2002 to death for the murder of a businessman white that he always denied. His case was the subject of a documentary series, a podcast and he is supported by many associations and personalities like Kim Kardashian, convinced of his innocence. He lost all legal remedies, but the Oklahoma Pardons Office recommended that his sentence be commuted to life imprisonment. The governor has not yet made a decision.

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