Federal court denies request to stay Oklahoma executions

A federal court denied a request to stay the executions of four death-row inmates in Oklahoma on Friday.

Julius Jones, Wade Lay, Donald Grant and Gilbert Postelle have been fighting to halt their executions, which are all scheduled within the next three months, The Associated Press reported

An appeal to stop the executions was rejected by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the merits of the inmates' claims would likely not succeed.


The inmates argued that the sedative midazolam, the drug used for lethal injections, could cause them extreme pain during their executions.

They also asserted that the state would violate their religious rights if they were to choose their own alternate method of execution, because making such a choice would amount to abetting their own suicides.

“Appellants are not paying for their religious beliefs with their lives; at most they are forfeiting a delay in execution of a sentence that ... is constitutional,” the court said, according to the AP.

All four inmates are facing the death penalty after previously being convicted for murder.

The court’s decision comes after the Supreme Court ruled in October to lift a stay put in place on two executions in Oklahoma.

The stay was issued by a lower appeals court due to concerns that executions might inflict undue suffering. After it was lifted, another Oklahoma inmate convicted of murder, John Grant, was put to death by lethal injection in a controversial execution that saw him violently convulsing and vomiting.


Jones was the other inmate to receive a stay in that previous case. He is now set to be executed on Thursday.

Jones's upcoming execution has received widespread attention, with celebrities calling on the governor to stay the proceedings. 

He maintains that he was framed for the murder for which he was convicted and sentenced to death, the AP noted.