Oklahoma executes man for slayings of hotel workers during robbery

·2 min read
This undated photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Donald Anthony Grant
This undated photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Donald Anthony Grant


Oklahoma on Thursday executed a man convicted for brutally killing two hotel workers in 2001, the first execution in the nation this year.

Donald Grant, 46, was given a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at 10:16 a.m., according to a statement from John O'Connor, the attorney general of Oklahoma.

O'Connor said the execution was carried out "with zero complications."

"Justice is now served for Brenda McElyea, Felecia Suzette Smith, and the people of Oklahoma," he said in a statement, naming Grant's victims.

Oklahoma resumed executions in October following a review of its procedures to ensure lethal injections and death penalty practices were still humane.

An attorney for Grant had applied for a stay based on the argument a lethal injection would administer an unconstitutional level of pain, but a judge on Wednesday denied the request, The Oklahoman reported.

In the state, a defendant found guilty can be sentenced to the death penalty by a judge, and the Court of Criminal Appeals confirms the sentence, according to the Department of Corrections. A parole board considers whether to grant clemency and recommends that to the governor for final approval.

In Grant's case, the board denied his request for clemency in December, ABC 5 reported, although the convicted man expressed remorse for his actions.

"I can't really explain myself because truth be told, I really don't understand myself mentally. I don't understand myself, how I think, how I function," Grant said, according to ABC 5.

Grant was convicted of killing hotel staff employees McElyea and Smith during a robbery at the Del City La Quinta hotel. He planned to rob the hotel to get enough money to ultimately bail his girlfriend out of jail, according to The Oklahoman. Grant decided not to leave any witnesses so he shot the two hotel workers at the front desk. He also brutally beat one of the women.

The Action Network said Grant had "severe mental illness and brain damage" stemming from childhood trauma, and argued he should not be killed. The organization launched a petition that collected more than 7,000 signatures, but failed to stop the execution.

Oklahoma carried out two executions last year and has one more scheduled for 2022, The Oklahoman reported.

Capital punishment is authorized in 27 states and by the federal government and U.S. military, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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