Oklahoma executes Donald Grant by lethal injection for 2001 murders of 2 hotel workers: ‘Yo, God, I got this’

Grant’s execution marked the nation’s first in 2022 and Oklahoma’s third since it resumed lethal injections in October after nearly seven years

Authorities in Oklahoma on Thursday executed an inmate who was convicted of murdering a hotel manager and an employee at a La Quinta Inn during a robbery just outside Oklahoma City in 2001. 

Donald Grant, 46, received a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester shortly after 10 a.m. 

Donald Anthony Grant. 

Donald Anthony Grant.  (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP)

"Yo, God, I got this," Grant said as he lay strapped to a gurney, while rambling on incoherently for two minutes, according to witnesses. "No medication. I didn't take nothing. Brooklyn for life."

"Yo, God, I got this. No medication. I didn't take nothing. Brooklyn for life."

— Donald Grant, executed Thursday

Grant continued to speak to about seven witnesses who attended the execution on his behalf even after the microphone inside the chamber was turned off. 

The entrance Gate and Guard Station at Oklahoma State Penitentiary. 

The entrance Gate and Guard Station at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.  (Getty Images)

A doctor entered the room to conduct a consciousness check and a prison official declared him unconscious at 10:09 a.m. He appeared to stop breathing and was declared officially dead at 10:16 a.m. 

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Grant’s execution marked the nation’s first in 2022 and Oklahoma’s third since it resumed lethal injections in October after a nearly seven-year hiatus.

‘Finally over’

Shirl Pilcher, who witnessed the execution and is the sister of one of Grant's victims, Brenda McElyea, told Fox News that she would never reach full closure, but feels that justice was finally served, and she can move forward. 

"Our memories can hopefully be less jaded and clouded by the past," Pilcher said. "For me, whenever I have a thought of her I always have to go back to, ‘Is he going to get out? Is something going to change? And now today I know that that’s finally over and that's done." 

"I hope that now when … when I think of her, I can go straight to that memory, whether it was when I first brought my daughter home from the hospital (Brenda) was there," Pilcher added. "Hopefully, those types of memories can come to the foreground and I don't have to go through the past to be able to remember the memory of her instead of the memory of her death." 

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK_CADP) held a protest outside the governor's mansion on Thursday ahead of Grant's execution, FOX 25 of Oklahoma City reported

Stay denied

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday denied Grant’s request for an emergency stay. Grant had argued that he should be reinstated as a plaintiff in a separate lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's three-drug lethal injection protocol as presenting a risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering.

During a clemency hearing in November, Grant admitted killing Brenda McElyea and Felicia Suzette Smith so that there would be no witnesses to his hotel robbery in Del City, east of Oklahoma City. Court records show both women were shot and stabbed, and Smith was also bludgeoned. Prosecutors say both women also begged Grant to spare their lives before he killed them.

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A crime scene investigator said the brutal killing resembled something "right out of a Stephen King movie," according to The Oklahoman newspaper.

During November's hearing, Grant expressed "deep, sincere remorse" and apologized for the killings, but the state's Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 against recommending clemency.

"I can't change that," he said of the crime while speaking to the board. "If I could, I would, but I can't change that."

Two of Donald Grant's attorneys, Susan Otto and Emma Rolls from the federal public defender's office, argued that he was mentally ill and had suffered brain damage that made him a candidate for mercy. They also discussed Grant's rough childhood growing up in a New York City housing project during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic, a time when he was frequently beaten and his family members suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness.

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But the board also heard from members of McElyea's family, who tearfully urged them to reject clemency for him.

Filcher, McElyea's sister, recalled the pain she experienced when she had to tell their father that McElyea had been killed.

"I had to call my dad and tell him his daughter, his baby girl, was dead," Filcher said. "I had never seen him cry, but that night I heard him weep and it broke my heart."

The Associated Press contributed to this report