US authorities are set to put to death another disabled man, using the controversial lethal injection method, which according to experts, makes victims feel like “burned alive.”
Inmate Donald Grant, 46, who has been diagnosed with mental health issues, will be killed by lethal injection on Thursday at Oklahoma’s state penitentiary in McAlester.
He was convicted of murdering two hotel workers during a robbery in 2001.
Grant had appealed to a series of federal courts, culminating in the Supreme Court, to stay his execution, but the top court denied his request on Wednesday.
His execution comes just before a federal trial begins to challenge the lethal injection as an unconstitutional, cruel and unusual punishment. The trial begins in federal court in late February.
Meanwhile, advocates are arguing that Grant is not the only mentally disabled death row inmate.
“The death penalty targets the mentally disabled!” reads an image shared on Twitter.
“The FACT that Mental Illness is so misunderstood is what put Donald on Death Row to begin with!”
Grant will be the first person executed in the US this year, and the third in Oklahoma since the state has moved aggressively to restart its deeply flawed execution system in October.
The death penalty has been on a six-year moratorium, following a series of botched lethal injections.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections, however, defended its execution protocols, saying things have changed dramatically since the botched killings and deadly drug mix-ups that inspired the moratorium.
But the state’s first execution in October, according to witnesses and critics, was botched, as victim John Grant convulsed and vomited for minutes on the execution table.