Clemency denied for Oklahoma death row inmate Donald Grant

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has voted to deny clemency to Donald Grant in a 4-1 vote.

Grant has been sitting on Oklahoma’s death row for 20 years. He was convicted for the 2001 murders of Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith in Del City.

In addition to Grant’s clemency hearing, the Board is scheduled to hold a hearing for Gilbert Postelle this week.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has previously asked the state to spare Grant’s life. Rev. Don Heath has issued a statement:

“We are surprised and disappointed with the Pardon and Parole Board’s rejection of Donald Grant’s clemency request. Cases of mental illness are particularly appropriate for clemency. Grant’s life story is horrific: prenatal brain injuries, a childhood filled with abuse, neglect and homelessness, no treatment for his mental illness until he is incarcerated. Death row is the most stable environment he has lived in. And it doesn’t matter. It reveals the extent to which our criminal-justice system is broken that a 4-1 majority of the Board could not show any mercy to a person who has had such a traumatic life.”

Grant is scheduled to be executed in January 2022.