Federal lawsuit could postpone upcoming executions in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Last month, the State of Oklahoma announced execution dates for six death row inmates, including Julius Jones.

As supporters of Julius Jones continue to rally ahead of his Nov. 18 execution date, the state is preparing to execute John Grant. Clemency was denied earlier this month for Grant, who was convicted of killing a woman in Osage County in 1998.

Grant is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 28. However, federal courts continue to debate if Oklahoma’s executions should resume following a six year pause.

Former Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin paused executions in 2015, after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett. Lockett convulsed before his death, he was injected with the wrong drug. Following Lockett’s death, several death row inmates filed federal lawsuits challenging the state’s execution protocol.

FOX23 sat down with Tim Gilpin, a former Assistant Attorney General in Oklahoma to discuss why executions may be placed on hold again. Gilpin says in August, a federal judge in Oklahoma dropped six inmates from that lawsuit. Jones and Grant were included.

Current Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor asked for execution dates for all six in September. But last week, federal documents show the Court of Criminal Appeals put the inmates back on the lawsuit. Now, defense lawyers are asking O’Connor to hold up former Attorney General Mike Hunter’s agreement to not ask for execution dates while the lawsuit is pending.

If O’Connor refuses to withdraw the execution dates, Gilpin says inmates could ask for a stay of execution. But that would be their final option.

If neither happens, the execution will continue as planned.

O’Connor’s office says they will not comment on the lawsuit at this time.