John Marion Grant was given the death penalty in Oklahoma on Thursday in what reporters called a violently botched execution. It was Oklahoma’s first execution since 2015, and the third consecutive execution to go wrong.
WARNING: information in this story is graphic and may be disturbing
Serving sentences for carrying illegal firearms and robbery, John Marion Grant, 60, was given the death penalty after he stabbed a prison guard to death with a shank knife over 16 times. The murder of guard Gay Carter occurred back in 1998, but executions were put on hold after a botched attempt in 2014.
A mix-up of drugs caused another execution to go wrong in 2015, prompting a moratorium until the Department of Corrections could ensure that future executions would go as planned.
After being injected with an approved three-drug cocktail of midazolam, vecuronium bromide, and potassium chloride, John Marion Grant reportedly suffered from two dozen full body convulsions, causing him to vomit all over himself.
Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy described the horrible scene, as John Marion Grant continued breathing for several moments before falling unconscious. Breathing stopped two minutes later, and the Department of Corrections confirmed him dead four minutes after.
Grant was the first death row inmate to be executed in five years, but after the botched execution, lethal injections were put on hold once again.
On Tuesday, the Department of Corrections said that “extensive validations and redundancies have been implemented since the last execution in order to ensure that the process works as intended.”
DOC Director Scott Crow had also released a statement saying that “The Department of Corrections has addressed concerns regarding carrying out the death penalty and is prepared to follow the will of the people of Oklahoma.”
Despite their claims from earlier in the week, John Marion Grant still met a botched, violent end in what is supposed to be a humane method.
Grant’s attorney Sarah Jernigan later released a statement after her clients death, stating that not only did he regret killing prison guard Gay Carter, but that he never received the mental health care that he needed.
“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,” Jernigan wrote. “However we must not forget Oklahoma’s hand in this tragic story.”
“When John stole to feed and clothe himself and his siblings, Oklahoma labeled him a delinquent instead of a desperate and traumatized child left to fend for himself,” she said. “John wasn’t even a teenager yet when Oklahoma sent him to the first of several state-run youth detention facilities.”
“Oklahoma ultimately dumped John onto the streets with no skills and no support for the mental illness that was exacerbated by years of being both the victim of and witness to beatings, rapes, and extended periods of solitary confinement, amongst other abuses,” Jernigan continued. “When he committed a robbery at age seventeen, Oklahoma sent him to an adult prison, subjecting him to further victimization… I pray John Grant is at peace now, and I pray his death brings peace and closure to Ms. Carter’s family.”
Julius Jones, the next death row inmate to face execution, is currently part of a lawsuit alleging that the drug cocktail used for lethal injection isn’t a strong enough sedative for the procedure.
Jimmy Lawson, Jones’ good friend, told reporters that he’s looking forward to Jones’ clemency hearing, and that he’ll have a chance to pleas his innocence once again for the first time in 22 years.
“My deepest condolences and thoughts, prayers go out to John Grant and his family,” he said. “Today’s a tough day.”