Execution Dates Set for Inmates Who Lost Lethal Injection Lawsuit


Three of the Oklahoma death row inmates who argued to the United States Supreme Court that Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol is unconstitutional have had their execution dates set. After the Supreme Court ruled that the use of midazolam in lethal injections did not violate the Eighth Amendment right to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, Oklahoma quickly got to work scheduling the executions of the death row inmates who had a brief reprieve while awaiting the Supreme Court's decision.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ordered execution dates for Richard Eugene Glossip, Benjamin Robert Cole, and John Marion Grant.

Glossip, 52, is scheduled for execution September 16. He was convicted of first degree murder after another man testified that Glossip, a hotel manager, offered to pay him to kill the hotel owner, whom he believed was about to fire him.  Justin Sneed, who bludgeoned to death Barry Alan Van Treese in 1997, testified against Glossip in exchange for a life sentence without parole. Glossip, who was sentenced to death, maintains his innocence, saying Sneed only testified against him to save his own life.

Cole, 50, is scheduled for execution October 7. Cole was convicted of first degree murder in the child abuse death of  his 9-month-old daughter. In 1987, he was convicted of abusing an infant son in California, and five years later, he fatally injured his infant daughter. In that incident, Cole was playing video games when he was interrupted by the baby's crying. He went into her room, and bent her legs backward toward her head to flip her over. The force of the injury broke her spine in two and severed her aorta. Cole left the baby in her crib and returned to playing video games. After the baby was found in distress, Cole attempted to resuscitate her as he and the baby's mother waited for an ambulance to arrive. He denied any wrongdoing until confronted with the autopsy report. At that time, he confessed, asking, "How many years am I looking at?" Cole's attorneys appealed his conviction, arguing that he was incompetent to assist in his own defense. The appeal was denied.

Grant, 54, was already an Oklahoma prison inmate when he fatally stabbed a food service supervisor at the Connor Correction Center in Hominy, Oklahoma. Grant, who was serving time for burglary, armed robbery, and related offenses had worked in the cafeteria under Gay Carter until he was fired for fighting with another inmate. According to court records, Grant and Carter argued over a breakfast tray one November morning in 1989, and Grant threatened the woman. The next day, he pulled her into a mop closet, covered her mouth, and stabbed her 16 times with a shiv fashioned from a screwdriver.

Oklahoma currently has 49 inmates on death row. Almost all are held at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. One is currently in federal prison in Louisiana, and Oklahoma's only female death row inmate, Brenda Andrew is incarcerated at Oklahoma's women's prison, Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McCloud.

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