Federal judge rules Oklahoma can move forward with 5 lethal injections
A federal judge on Monday ruled that Oklahoma could proceed with the lethal injections of five death row inmates, with the earliest execution scheduled for this week.
Judge Stephen Friot denied a motion for a preliminary injunction that five Oklahoma inmates were seeking, The Associated Press reported.
The executions of Julius Jones, John Marion Grant, Donald A. Grant, Gilbert Ray Postelle and Wade Greely Lay have now been cleared to proceed, with the lethal injections scheduled to take place over the next six months.
John Marion Grant, 60, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Thursday for the murder of a prison cafeteria worker in 1998. It will be Oklahoma’s first lethal injection in more than six years.
The five inmates were removed from a federal lawsuit seeking to challenge Oklahoma’s three-drug lethal injection, as they did not offer alternative execution methods, the AP reported. The attorneys representing the five inmates who were removed said they would be appealing Friot’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
“We will be asking the 10th Circuit to review Judge Friot’s decision and to issue a stay for Mr. Grant’s execution, as well as for the executions scheduled in the coming months,” assistant public defender Dale Baich, who is representing Jones, said.
“The district court acknowledged there are serious questions about the drug protocol used by Oklahoma and that it could cause unconstitutional pain and suffering. With the trial on that question scheduled for February 2022, executions should not go forward,” Baich added.
The AP noted that 26 out of the 32 inmates also on the lawsuit did offer alternative methods of execution, with 19 choosing firing squad as an alternative.
Jones’s case has garnered widespread attention, having been featured in the ABC documentary series “The Last Defense.” Jones was convicted of killing a businessman during a carjacking in 1999, a crime which he maintains he is innocent of.
As The Innocence Project has argued, Jones had an alibi for where he was during the time of the carjacking, he does not match the description of the suspect who was only seen by one witness and multiple people have said in sworn affidavits that another man who claims to have only been the getaway driver confessed the killing.
Jones is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 18.