United States

US Federal court denies appeals from death row Oklahoma prisoners

17:12, 14 November 2021
US Federal court denies appeals from death row Oklahoma prisoners Photo: Victor Lisitsyn, Виктор Лисицын/Global Look Press

A Federal Court of Appeals has denied an appeal issued by four condemned to death Oklahoma prisoners to defer the executions and retained the verdict that is scheduled to be followed within the next three months, including a deadly injection next week that raised numerous questions.

The 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday deprived Julius Jones, Wade Lay, Donald Grant, and Gilbert Postelle of the opportunity to reschedule the sentence.

Julius Jones was sentenced in 1999 for killing Paul Howell. His attorney and Jones himself have repeatedly denied Jones’ guilt and said the case has been racially tinged.

The inmates argued with the planned executions claiming that the injection might be followed with a strong pain before death. However, the court defied those claims.

The court also rejected the request of choosing another method of dispatch as it runs contrary to the religious norms as the person assists in his own death and it might be evaluated as part of suicide.

“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 ruling said.

The inmates also argued that the change in state law that happened in 2011 altered the options of a lethal dose of drug replacing the paralyzing drug with a deadly dose of barbiturate with a lethal amount “of a drug or drugs.”

“Under both versions of the law, the penalty incurred is death.” the court said. 

At the end of October, a life prisoner was executed in Oklahoma as the state resumed the death sentence after a six-month halt. During the process, then sentenced to die John Grant was seen suffering as he vomited and convulsed after an injection was administered. It raised numerous questions about whether the execution is inhumane and how to make it less painful.  Before the execution started he pronounced a wide range of profanities ending up his outcry with “let's go.” He died 16 minutes after the beginning of the dispatch.

In 2000 Grant was condemned for the brutal murder of a food service supervisor Gay Carter after in 1998 he killed the victim in the kitchen of the Dick Conner Correctional Facility stabbing her 16 times with the use of makeshift shank as a weapon.