Some states, as well as the federal government — which executed 13 people under President Donald J. Trump after a 17-year moratorium — use a single drug, pentobarbital, in executions. But many states, including Oklahoma, have had difficulty obtaining the drug, in part because companies do not want to be associated with capital punishment.
Mr. Crow, the prison director, was steadfast on Friday in arguing that the execution had been carried out “without complication” because Mr. Grant’s reaction did not inhibit the process and that it was humane because Mr. Grant was sedated when he was vomiting, according to the doctor. Mr. Grant was declared unconscious about six minutes after he was given the sedative; he was then given the two drugs that paralyzed him and stopped his heart. Mr. Grant stopped breathing about nine minutes after the process began.
In a statement, the daughter of Gay Carter, the prison cafeteria worker whom Mr. Grant was convicted of killing, said her family was “starting to get justice” for her death.
“The death penalty is about protecting any potential future victims,” the daughter, Pamela Gay Carter, said in the statement, noting that Mr. Grant had killed her mother while serving a prison sentence for armed robbery convictions. “Even after Grant was removed from society, he committed an act of violence that took an innocent life.”
For much of the day on Thursday, it was unclear whether Mr. Grant’s execution would happen, amid a last-minute legal fight. Then, in the afternoon, the Supreme Court lifted a stay of the execution, clearing the way for it to take place.
Mr. Crow said Mr. Grant was “verbally abusive” to prison staff throughout the day and grew more agitated as his execution neared. Journalists said they could hear him shout “Let’s go” several times before a curtain was raised, allowing witnesses to see him, and that he then shouted profanities.
Mr. Murphy, one of the five reporters who witnessed Mr. Grant’s death, said at a news conference that he had witnessed about 14 executions and had never seen someone vomit during one. He also reported that a retired Associated Press journalist who had witnessed more than 400 executions said he could remember only one of those people vomiting.
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