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Oklahoma kills schizophrenic man in first execution of 2022

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Oklahoma executed a man with a well-documented history of mental illness and neglect Thursday.

46-year-old Donald Grant was pronounced dead at 10:16 a.m. at the state prison in McAlester.

Grant grew up in New York and spent time in foster care because his mother was a crack addict who didn't consistently care for him.

Grant had two brothers who are also convicted murderers, though one of them has been released and one is serving life in prison.

Grant’s incarcerated brother, Lenox Grant, killed a 7-year-old but the state of North Carolina took into account Grant’s troubled childhood.

Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy said Grant’s last statement was disjointed and included “unintelligible chanting that lasted a while.”

Murphy said Grant spoke for about two minutes before prison staff told him his time was up. Grant continued to talk and make eye contact with witnesses until falling unconscious.

Murphy and other reporters said Grant’s death was quick and he didn’t appear to suffer.

There were many observers present from the families of Suzette Smith and Brenda McElyea, the two women Grant killed in cold blood while they were working their shifts at a Del City hotel in 2001.

McElyea’s sister said justice had been done.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.