An Oklahoma man who offered to be executed by firing squad was shot by lethal injection Thursday morning, officials said.
Donald Anthony Grant, 46, was pronounced dead at the Oklahoma prison at 10:16 a.m. ET, a spokesman for the Oklahoma prison announced.
Correctional Services Commissioner Scott Crow said the execution began at 10.03am and Grant was declared unconscious at 10.08am before passing away at 10.16am.
There were 18 witnesses, including journalists, prosecutors, the police chief, and relatives of Grant and his victims.
Grant’s stuttering last words lasted two minutes before a prison staff member in the execution room stopped him and cut off the microphone.
“I see. It’s not what,” Grant said. “I’m strong, son. No pills, nothing. I’m strong.”
After turning off the microphone, Grant continued to speak, looking at the family members who were sitting in the front row of the witness room.
“I’m going to the universe and I’ll be back,” he said. “God is here. The real God.”
For a moment, tears seemed to fall from his face.
Grant killed Brenda McElyea, 29, and Felicia Suzette Smith, 43, so there would be no witnesses to the July 2001 robbery at his La Quinta Inn in Del City.
“While Donald Grant’s execution didn’t bring Brenda back, it allowed us all to finally know that justice was served,” McElia’s sister Hill Pilcher told reporters.
Grant was the first person to be executed in the U.S. this year and the third in Oklahoma since the state reinstated the death penalty in October after a six-year moratorium.
Grant and another death row inmate, Gilbert Postelle, have asked a federal judge to grant them a temporary injunction that would delay their executions until they can be killed over three drugs in Oklahoma. Whether the injection method is constitutional is to be tried.
They proposed killing by firing squad as an alternative, arguing that it would be quicker and less painful.
Grant and other death row inmates in Oklahoma and across the country have questioned the use of the sedative midazolam during executions, arguing that the drug is not suitable for lethal injections, noting its use in several questionable executions.
In October, John Marion Grant vomited during the execution, leading members of the Oklahoma Pardons and Parole Board to question the execution process. However, the two executions since then, including that of Donald Grant, have been carried out without problems.
A trial in the matter is scheduled to begin on February 28. But Grant’s scheduled execution date is Thursday, while Postelle’s death date is set for February 17.