Two Oklahoma inmates on death row are requesting a temporary injunction in their cases, claiming that the state’s policy of using lethal injection for executions is unconstitutional.
But Donald Grant and Gilbert Postelle, both convicted of murder, are not demanding they be allowed to live. Instead, an attorney for the inmates said Monday that Grant and Postelle prefer to die by a firing squad, according to The Associated Press.
Attorney Jim Stronski told District Judge Stephen Friot that a firing squad will be faster and more efficient.
“While it may be gruesome to look at, we all agree it will be quicker,” Stronski said.
Stronski summoned Dr. James Williams, an emergency medicine specialist, as an expert to testify in favor of execution by firing squad.
Williams said four rifles shooting into the “cardiac bundle” of the heart would be fast, and also painless.
The complications of a firing squad are also minimal compared with those of Oklahoma’s three-drug method of lethal injection, he said.
Grant was convicted in 2001 of killing Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith at a hotel in Del City, Oklahoma, according to KFOR-TV.
Postelle was found guilty of murder and was denied clemency after he fatally shot four people in 2005, Tulsa World reported.
Grant is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 27, while Postelle is scheduled for execution on Feb. 17.
Stronski is seeking to put those executions on hold while a trial takes place over the state’s death penalty laws.
Friot said he hoped to have a decision this week.
“There’s a lot for me to get my mind around,” Friot said.
State law in Oklahoma allows for the use of a firing squad if lethal injection is ruled out for some reason, but one has never been used in the state’s history.
If a firing squad were to be used, the state would need to develop procedures, because currently, the only protocol for executions on the books of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections involves lethal injection.
The petition for Grant and Postelle comes as a Feb. 28 trial date nears in a federal lawsuit filed by death row prisoners who say that the state’s method of lethal injection is inhumane, according to The New York Times.
In October, Oklahoma became a focus of controversy over the execution of John Marion Grant, who died after vomiting and convulsing.
Justin Farris, the chief of operations at the Department of Corrections, touched on that incident when he testified before Friot concerning the 2021 executions of Grant and Bigler Stouffer.
Grant tried to resist by trying to flex his arms and legs, Farris said. Stouffer, whose execution went off without complications, “was just as polite as you can imagine under the circumstances,” Farris said.
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