Donald Grant, Oklahoma
Updated: Thursday, January 27, 2021
Oklahoma executed Donald Anthony Grant on Thursday, January 27, 2022. Donald was pronounced dead at 10:16 am local time, inside the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. He was 46 years of age. Donald was executed for murdering 30-year-old Brenda McElyea and 42-year-old Suzette Smith on July 18, 2001, in Del City, Oklahoma. Donald spent the last 15 years of his life on death row in Oklahoma.
While pregnant with him, Donald’s mother often consumed alcohol. Donald grew up in a poor, violent, and drug-infested neighborhood. Donald’s mother was addicted to crack cocaine, and his father was an alcoholic. His parents were often unable to take care of him, leaving him a ward of the state.
On July 18, 2001, Donald Grant’s girlfriend, Shlonda Gatewood, was being held at the Oklahoma County Jail. She needed money for a bond. Grant decided to rob a LaQuinta Inn in Del City, Oklahoma for the money. Another girlfriend, Cheryl Tubbs, had recently been fired from that location. During her employment, Grant became familiar with the layout and location of video surveillance cameras.
Grant entered the hotel on July 18, 2001, seeking an employment application. After entering the hotel, Grant approached the manager, Brenda McElyea, with a pistol in his hand. Grant took Brenda to a storage room, where he shot and killed her. Grant then approached Suzette Smith, another employee, in the break room. Suzette was forced by Grant to hand over the money from the hotel register.
Grant then order Suzette into the manager’s office, where he shot her three times. Suzette did not die instantly and struggled against Grant. He stabbed her numerous times, attempted to break her neck, and hit her with the pistol. Eventually, Suzette died from her injuries. Grant stole several items from Suzette’s purse before leaving the office and the hotel.
After leaving the hotel, Grant walked to a nearby discount store. He left the pistol and other items. Later that day, Grant bailed out Sholonda. The two stole a car and drove to New York City, where police arrested Grant about one month later.
Before his trial, attorneys for Grant argued that he lacked the mental competency to stand trial, as he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. After a four-year delay, Grant was found to be competent to stand trial. He was convicted and sentenced to death.
Pray for peace and healing for the families of Brenda and Suzette. Pray for strength for the family of Donald Grant.
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