After Oklahoma conducted its first execution in six years, the death penalty in our state once more is under scrutiny.

Last Thursday, John Marion Grant, 60, was put to death by lethal injection. He had received a stay of execution the day before, but then around noon the next day, that stay was lifted and he was put to death on original schedule at 4 p.m.

When the sedative midazolam was administered, he began vomiting and convulsing. While Oklahoma Department of Corrections said the execution went forward “without complication,” witnesses — including media representatives — saw otherwise.

There is a problem with Oklahoma being able to carry out lethal injection executions. The state certainly hasn’t done much to inspire confidence that they have the capability to exercise the ultimate power of government.

The Department of Corrections acknowledged that Grant had been given food the day of his execution. Midazolam is supposed to be administered on an empty stomach. An investigation into what happened is under way. However, the fact that Grant’s execution was originally stayed the day before his scheduled date, then vacated just mere hours later, should have necessitated the state waiting at least another 24 hours before carrying out the sentence. The state rushed the execution just to make the original 4 p.m. schedule, and it appears that may have contributed to the vomiting and convulsions.

While some politicians and others are calling for an end to the death penalty in Oklahoma, the majority of Oklahomans support the death penalty. According to an analysis by Oklahoma Watch, Pat McFerron, a Republican strategist and president of Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates, released a poll last week showing 64% of those surveyed support the death penalty while 23% oppose it. Even 44% of Democrats support it. In 2016, Oklahomans affirmed their support for the death penalty by passing State Question 776.

While they may support the death penalty, Oklahomans want to be assured that the death penalty is carried out correctly. That, once again, didn’t happen last week. That’s why the governor should call for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty until the DOC can guarantee that the sentence can be properly carried out.

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