Oklahoma Gives Donald Grant Execution Date of January 27, 2021

Donald Grant, Oklahoma

Updated: Monday, January 17, 2021

Donald GrantDonald Anthony Grant is given an execution date of Thursday, January 27, 2022, at 10 am local time. The execution will take place at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. Forty-six-year-old Donald is convicted of murdering Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith on July 18, 2001, in Del City, Oklahoma. For the last 15 years, Donald has been 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 Grant police arrested 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.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot refused to halt the execution of Donald Grant.  Donald, along with another death row inmate scheduled to be executed, Gilbert Postelle, argued that Oklahoma’s execution protocol violates their 8th Amendment right protecting them from cruel and unusual punishment.  Judge Friot ruled that, “They have not shown that, in the words of the Supreme Court, it is ‘sure or very likely’ that their executions will entail physical pain more severe than that attendant to the insertion of the IV catheters.”  Last year, Donald and Gilbert were kicked out of a lawsuit that involves several death row inmates in Oklahoma that is challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol.  They were removed from the lawsuit because they refused to identify their preferred alternative method of execution, a requirement by the Supreme Court of the United States when challenging execution protocols.  

Pray for peace and healing for the families of Brenda and Suzette. Pray for strength for the family of Donald Grant. Please pray that if Donald should not be executed for any reason, that evidence will be revealed before his execution. Pray that Donald finds peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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