Admitted double murderer Donald Anthony Grant denied clemency

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board put aside concerns about the last execution and denied clemency Tuesday to an admitted double murderer.

Donald Anthony Grant, 45, had told the board he was sorry and blamed the devil for the 2001 deaths in Del City.

“First and foremost … I'd like to express my … sincere deep regrets and remorse for my actions,” he said by video in a disjointed, repetitious statement.

“I know words can't bring them back. I understand. … I can't change that. You know, I wish I could and everything.”

The vote to reject his clemency request was 4-1. The decision clears the way for Grant's execution to be carried out as scheduled Jan. 27 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

The decision also means Gov. Kevin Stitt cannot intervene. In Oklahoma, a governor can commute a death row inmate's sentence only if the board recommends clemency.

Grant is facing execution for killing two workers at the LaQuinta Inn in Del City during a 2001 robbery. He admitted after his capture that he needed money to bail a girlfriend out of jail and decided not to leave any witnesses.

“So I'm sitting in the house cleaning my gun with kill on my mind for whoever's a– is there,” he wrote in a confession letter.

Death row inmate Donald A. Grant speaks to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board during his clemency hearing. The board voted 4-1 to deny Grant clemency.

“We have had individuals on the table suffering for 20 and 30 minutes apiece. And I don't think that any humane society ought to be executing people that way until we figure out how to do it right,” board member Larry Morris said at that meeting.

On Tuesday, Morris said “that is no longer a concern of mine.”

During the Oct. 28 execution, inmate John Marion Grant made a series of movements and threw up after the first drug, the sedative midazolam, was administered. Media witnesses described the movements as violent, full-body convulsions.

The doctor testified as a paid witness for the state. U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot called his testimony persuasive.

The judge said the execution does not call into question the efficacy of midazolam as the first drug in the three-drug sequence.

“I certainly trust his judgment,” Morris said in explaining his vote Tuesday, “I read his opinion on that subject several times.”

Also voting to deny clemency were Scott Williams, Kelly Doyle and Richard Smothermon.

Doyle has recommended clemency for other death row inmates. She said Tuesday, “I … feel that it's my responsibility to identify those cases that are unusually heinous and cruel. To me this is one of those cases.”

Voting to recommend clemency — without comment — was the board's chairman, Adam Luck.

The board was told Donald Grant fatally shot inn manager Brenda McElyea on July 18, 2001, as she begged for her life.

The board was told he then shot the front desk clerk, Suzette Smith, in the face three times, slit her throat and beat her over the head with a computer monitor, a VCR and his gun. In his confession letter, he wrote she said, “Oh, God,” and he responded, “Yeah, it's too late.”

“I was there,” former Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said.

“On that day, evil walked through the door,” Clabes said. “I was shocked. I've dealt with multiple homicides, hundreds of homicides as police chief of Midwest City. I can tell you … this was one of the most heinous and gruesome.

“They fought for their lives,” he said of the victims.

Donald Grant's attorneys asked the board for mercy, saying executing a brain-damaged and mentally ill man will be cruel and inhumane. They said he has been diagnosed as schizophrenic.

“He is afraid,” said Susan Otto, the federal public defender for Oklahoma City. “He understands he may die like John Grant and he's terrified of that.”

Donald Grant said he was not in his rightful mind at the time of the murders.

“God and the devil … I feel they works through us,” he said. “I let … that entity talk to me, which is the devil.”

At the clemency hearing Tuesday were death penalty opponents wearing bright red shirts. Written on the front was: “STOP EXECUTIONS NOW!”

“He's not healthy in his mind,” said Abraham Bonowitz, who came from Columbus, Ohio, for the hearing.

Bonowitz, who runs a national group called Death Penalty Action, said, “We don't have to kill people like that to be safe from them.”

Donald Grant is seeking a stay of his execution in court but the request is before Friot and considered a long shot. Friot last week denied Stouffer's request for a stay.

Stouffer is set to be executed Dec. 9.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Admitted double murderer Donald A. Grant denied clemency

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