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Clemency denied for death row inmate scheduled for Oklahoma's first execution since 2015

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Photo from John Marion Grant's clemency packet.
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John Marion Grant (right) as a child.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board voted Tuesday to deny 60-year-old death row inmate John Marion Grant clemency.

Grant was convicted of the 1998 murder of Gay Carter, a kitchen employee at the prison where Grant was incarcerated.

Before voting, the board heard presentations for and against clemency with Grant’s juvenile criminal history and impoverished background discussed.

With two votes for clemency and two votes against, the vote came down to board member and former probation officer Larry Morris. Morris said he believed Grant faced many “hurdles” in his life.

“It forces one to ask the question whether or not he is a hardened criminal who committed this very violent crime or whether or not he is a victim of the system that should have provided some treatment for the issues he was dealing with as a young child. I guess after hearing both sides this morning, I’ve come to the conclusion he’s probably both,” said Morris.

Despite admitting the state failed Grant as a child when it incarcerated him in a system that was the subject of investigations, Morris voted to deny clemency.

“I have not heard anything from anyone to suggest that he did not know the difference from right and wrong,” said Morris.

Members Richard Smothermon and Scott Williams also voted to deny, with Kelly Doyle and Adam Luck voting in favor of clemency.

In a statement public defender Sarah Jernigan called Grant's Oct. 28 execution “the final injustice in this tragic case.”

Grant is slated to be the first of seven executions planned in the state after a hiatus due to botched attempts.