OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Two Oklahoma prisoners facing execution in the coming months have offered firing squad as a less problematic alternative to the three-drug lethal injection, one of their lawyers told a federal judge on Monday.
Two inmates – Donald Grant and Gilbert Postell – want U.S. District Judge Stephen Freeot to issue them a temporary restraining order that would delay their upcoming executions until a trial is held on whether the lethal injection method is three drugs in Oklahoma constitutional. The trial is due to begin before Friot on February 28, but Grant is to be executed on January 27 and Postella on February 17.
“While it can be horrible to watch, we all agree it will be faster,” attorney Jim Stronski told Friot after a one-day hearing in Oklahoma City.
Friot did not rule on the prisoners’ petition Monday, but said he hopes to issue an order by the end of the week.
“I have a lot to think about,” said Friot.
Among the experts who testified was Dr. James Williams, an emergency care specialist from Texas with over 40,000 hours of experience in emergency departments and who has thoroughly studied the use of firing squads.
Williams, himself the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest, has shown that a firing squad, which includes at least four high-powered rifles fired into the heart bundle of the heart, will be so fast that the inmate will not feel pain. … He also said that, unlike lethal injection, the chances of an unsuccessful execution are extremely small.
Oklahoma has never used firing squad as a method of executing prisoners since the state was formed, but current state law allows it to be used if other methods, such as lethal injection, were found unconstitutional or otherwise unavailable. There are currently no execution protocols for any method other than lethal injection in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Friot also heard testimony from Justin Farris, chief of operations for the Department of Corrections, about the recent lethal injections of death row prisoners John Marion Grant and Bigler Stouffer late last year.
Farris, who was on death row for both executions, described the two lethal injections as “at opposite ends of the spectrum.”
According to Farris, Grant, who was pronounced dead after vomiting and convulsing on a gurney, was angry, threw curses and resisted execution by trying to bend his arms and legs. Stoffer, on the other hand, “was as polite as you can imagine under the circumstances,” Farris said.
Farris also revealed that the doctor who inserts the intravenous tubes and helps oversee the lethal injections is paid $ 15,000 for each execution he attends, as well as $ 1,000 for each day of training. DOC policy prohibits the disclosure of the names of execution team members, and the doctor wore a mask during both Grant and Stouffer’s executions.