Denied clemency, John Marion Grant is set for execution on October 28

Oklahoma City – The state Pardon and Parole Board on Tuesday (October 5) denied the clemency petition of death row inmate John Marion Grant. Convicted of murdering Corrections worker Gay L. Carter in 1998, Grant is scheduled for execution on Thursday, Oct. 28. If the Ultimate Sanction is imposed on Grant, he will be the first person executed in Oklahoma since 2015.

For six years, the state of Oklahoma has not imposed a sentence of death. The lengthy moratorium came in the wake of what is widely characterized as a “botched execution” in 2014 and a 2015 imposition of death frequently described as “problematic.”

In his clemency petition, Grant’s attorneys detailed abuse he suffered in state institutions “beginning as a child.” However, attorneys for the state government asserted there was no evidence of that. During the clemency proceedings and in submissions to the Board, Grant’s attorneys said the killing occurred after Carter had ended a personal relationship with Grant. ( )

The Oklahoman reported in Wednesday’s print edition, “Prosecutors … said there was no evidence of a personal relationship between Grant and Carter and that anything beyond her being kind to him was a baseless rumor around the prison.”The state’s largest newspaper also reported, “Carter’s daughter, Pam Carter, told the board her mother was kind and loving to everyone. The idea that her mother had a relationship with Grant is ‘victimizing my mother with these stupid allegations’.”

The 3-2 vote against clemency for her client, attorney Sarah Jernigan said, in a statement shared with, “John Grant never had a chance. His mother neglected and abandoned him. Beginning when he was just twelve years old, the State of Oklahoma sent him to notoriously vicious juvenile facilities where he experienced unspeakable horrors. At seventeen, Oklahoma placed him in an adult prison, where he was further victimized, and where he never received the mental health care he so obviously needed.”

Jernigan continued, “when he eventually committed a tragic crime, Oklahoma provided him with incompetent lawyers, who failed to give the jurors information some of them now say might have changed their decision. Allowing Mr. Grant to be executed is a final injustice in this tragic case.”

Pardon and Parole Board members Richard Smotherman, Scott Williams and Larry Morris opposed clemency. Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle supported clemency.

The petition asking for Pardon and Parole Board approval of clemency (in the words of a memorandum from a supportive attorney, shared with summarized “the terrible abuse and neglect [Grant] suffered in state-run institutions beginning as a child. They explained that the decades of abuse and abandonment Mr. Grant experienced at the hands of state actors culminated in his tragic killing of a prison employee who had recently ended a personal relationship with him. They also described Mr. Grant’s profound remorse and continuing efforts to understand his actions and better himself.”