Stop the Execution of Donald Grant in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

Donald Grant, a man with severe mental illness and brain damage, is scheduled for execution in Oklahoma on January 27, 2022 for his murders of Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith.

Read the Clemency Petition Here.

[See operative petition language below.]

Donald Grant’s mental illness and congenital and acquired brain damage was so severe that it took five years for Mr. Grant to be stabilized where he could somewhat assist his attorneys in his defense. There was no assurance Mr. Grant was even competent to be put on trial, but he was in 2005 and sentenced to death.

The jury who sentenced Mr. Grant to death received limited evidence of his severe, documented mental illness. The jury never saw pictures of Mr. Grant’s visible brain damage or had an expert explain the impact this damage and his undisputed mental illness had on his crime and behavior. He is currently being treated for his mental illness in prison.

Mr. Grant’s severe mental illness became apparent in his teenage years. His mental health issues stem from prenatal alcohol exposure, lack of oxygen from complications at birth, and the traumatic brain injury he suffered at the hands of his alcoholic and abusive father. As a young child, Mr. Grant faced the daily consequences of his mother being addicted to crack cocaine. He and his siblings were often homeless and hungry on the streets of Brooklyn, New York. When they had a place to sleep it was in an over-crowded apartment in a notorious housing project where they were surrounded by more drugs and violence. Child welfare eventually took custody of Mr. Grant and his siblings where they were often separated and bounced from different foster homes to group homes.

Although the Pardon and Parole Board voted to deny clemency for execution on December 1, the Governor can and must grant mercy and prevent the execution of a severely mentally-ill and brain-damaged man.


Sponsored by

To: Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt
From: [Your Name]

We are writing to you regarding Donald Grant, who is on death row in Oklahoma for the 2001 murders of Brenda McElyea and Suzette Smith, and who faces an execution date of January 27, 2022.

In scheduling executions such as this, Oklahoma makes itself an outlier in its use of the death penalty. The majority of other states are on a downward trend of executions, and increasingly, states are abolishing the practice altogether, including the southern state of Virginia, which repealed its death penalty law earlier this year.

Furthermore, the continued failure of Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol and the resulting "botched" executions are of grave concern.

We, the undersigned, ask that you do everything within your power to ensure Grant does not face execution and to seek a path to clemency in the case.

Thank you for time and attention to this urgent and serious matter.