Anti-death penalty group to hold “Don’t Kill For Me” protest of the scheduled execution of death row prisoner Donald Anthony Grant, described by death penalty critics as ‘mentally ill’

Oklahoma City -– On Thursday, January 27, the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) has asked the public to join them at the Donald Anthony Grant “Don’t Kill for Me” demonstration in protest of his scheduled execution that morning at 10 a.m.The demonstration will begin at 9 a.m. in front of the Governor’s Mansion, at 820 NE 23rd Street at Phillips Avenue.

Participants will begin a silent vigil at 10:00 a.m. until notice of a stay of execution is received or the execution is carried out. The vigil will conclude with a circle prayer. The vigil will be canceled if the execution is postponed.

Donald Anthony Grant, 46, has been on death row for 15 years for the killing of two Del City hotel workers during a robbery in 2001.

According to Grant’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Emma Rolls, Mr. Grant suffers from several mental disorders, including paranoid schizophrenia. It took five years for Oklahoma to medicate him sufficiently to restore his competency to stand trial. Grant has been treated for his mental illness while in prison.

Mr. Donald Grant would be the third person executed in Oklahoma following a six-year moratorium that ended when John Marion Grant was executed last year on October 28.

Sean Murphy, a reporter for the Associated Press, who has witnessed 14 executions, observed that John Grant had two dozen full-body convulsions and had to have vomit wiped from his face twice. Murphy reported that it was similar to the execution of Clayton Lockett, which he also witnessed. Locket’s execution lasted 43 minutes, during which he writhed, groaned and convulsed. It led to a grand-jury investigation and a six-year moratorium on executions.

On November 30, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 denying clemency for Donald Grant.

The clemency packet filed by Rolls on behalf of Grant states that his mother drank alcohol throughout her pregnancy, causing Grant to suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. His mentally-ill and alcoholic father disciplined him as a young child by slamming his head against a pole or against his younger brother’s head. He grew up in an apartment where the adults took crack cocaine.

Grant still carries a slug from a bullet that randomly struck him when he was 12. Grant’s family was often homeless. When the Welfare Department removed him and his brother from his mother’s custody, they raised themselves on the mean streets of Brooklyn. He found it difficult to control his impulsive and explosive behavior. The jury was never made aware of his mental illness.

“Donald Grant should be confined to a mental institution not prison,” said Rev. Don Heath, OK-CADP chair.“Donald has led the most tragic life of any person I know. His murder of two women at a La Quinta Inn in Midwest City was the greatest tragedy in his life. This week the State of Oklahoma will compound that tragedy with another tragedy.”

Earlier this month, a federal judge declined to halt the executions of Grant and fellow death row inmate Gilbert Postelle. Their lawyers argued in federal court that Oklahoma’s current practice of execution has a “substantial risk of severe pain and suffering,” citing convulsing observed during John Grant’s execution in October.

An execution date has been issued by the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals for Gilbert Postelle on February 17.

A federal hearing to determine the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol is scheduled for Feb. 28. The lawsuit claims the state’s injection protocol violates the Eighth Amendment, which protects against “cruel and unusual punishment.”