Oct 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Oklahoma won't change its death penalty protocol after execution of John Grant

Death lethal injection chair

Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections director said Friday that the agency has no plans to change its execution protocol after a man allegedly convulsed and vomited during his lethal injection this week, the Tulsa World reports.

Why it matters: John Marion Grant's execution on Thursday ended a six-year moratorium in Oklahoma following several flawed lethal injection attempts. But witnesses reported seeing Grant convulse and vomit after midazolam, the first sedative, was administered, according to the Associated Press.

  • Scott Crow, the Oklahoma corrections department director, said that Grant did vomit, but denied that the 60-year-old convulsed, according to the Tulsa World.
  • Crow said that after conferring with the onsite physician, he was told that "regurgitation is not a completely uncommon instance or occurrence with someone that is undergoing sedation."

What they're saying: Crow added that the agency doesn't plan on changing its death penalty protocol for Julius Jones, an inmate scheduled to die on Nov. 18, per Tulsa World.

  • “The three-drug protocol that was utilized yesterday for inmate Grant is the same drug protocol the department currently has in place for all inmates scheduled for execution,” Crow said.
  • “That same protocol will be utilized for Julius Jones,” he said.

But, but, but: After what reportedly happened during Grant's execution, several organizations criticized Oklahoma's administration of the death penalty.

  • “We keep having problems with executions here,” Abraham Bonowitz, the director of Death Penalty Action, said. “The whole idea that Oklahoma can’t seem to get it right, you know, should be a wake-up call.”
  • “To say this is another botched Oklahoma execution would be inadequate," Death Penalty Information Center executive director Robert Dunham said in a statement. "Oklahoma knew full well that this was well within the realm of possible outcomes in a midazolam execution."

What's next: A federal judge entered an order to preserve the evidence from Grant's execution, such as syringes, needles, drug vitals and IV tubing, Tulsa World reports.

Go deeper: Oklahoma kills inmate with first lethal injection in six years.

Go deeper