Execution date draws near for Osage County murderer

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Execution date draws near for Osage County murderer

State prison officials and a federal judge have cleared way for the execution of the only Osage County inmate on Oklahoma death row.

Execution is scheduled Feb. 19 for John Marion Grant, who was convicted in the 1998 murder of a Department of Corrections’ cafeteria worker at the Dick Conner Correctional Center.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot ruled that the State of Oklahoma may continue to administer a combination of lethal drugs it first used during the April 29 botched execution of murderer Clayton Lockett, who died after the procedure was interrupted when the drugs failed to render him unconscious.

Grant is one of 21 death row inmates who are suing to have their executions halted, arguing that the state’s current lethal injection method is unconstitutional.

Gay Carter, a food service supervisor at the Hominy prison, died Nov. 13, 1998, after she was stabbed 16 times with a homemade “shank” resembling a sharpened screwdriver.

The stabbing occurred near the correctional facility’s main dining area after Carter was grabbed and pulled into a mop closet, then “savagely and repeatedly” stabbed in the chest, according to a website for the Oklahoma Correctional Employee Memorial Foundation. Efforts to revive the prison worker were unsuccessful, the OCEMF said.

Grant, a Conner inmate who formerly worked in the prison’s kitchen, had reportedly argued with Carter and threatened to “get” her a day or two before the attack.

During a Dec. 12 hearing in Oklahoma City, state Pardon and Parole Board members voted, 5-0, to deny clemency to Grant — who is now 53. The board’s recommendation will go to Gov. Mary Fallin for approval.

Osage County District Attorney Rex Duncan attended the clemency hearing, as did former Osage County DA Keith Simms, who prosecuted the murder case against Grant.

Grant was 18 years and 12 days old in 1979 when he received his first prison sentence for second-degree burglary. He has spent nearly all his adult life behind bars, with convictions on four counts of armed robbery from Cleveland and Oklahoma counties.