TWO death row inmates in Oklahoma were granted stays of execution on Wednesday by a federal appeals court, temporarily halting their scheduled lethal injections.
Convicted murderer John Marion Grant was scheduled to die on Thursday, while fellow alleged killer Julius Jones' execution had been scheduled for November 18.
The pair would've been the first inmates in the state to be given lethal injections since 2015 when Charles Warner was given the wrong drug during his botched execution.
A year before, another inmate, Clayton Lockett, also suffered a botched execution after he wasn't properly sedated and visibly struggled before his death. In total, the execution took almost an hour.
Wednesday's ruling came after a three-judge panel with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to stay Grant's and Jones' executions in a connection with a decision to halt all lethal injections in the state for six years.
Grant has been on death row since 1998 for the killing of Oklahoma corrections center employee, Gay Carter, whom he stabbed 16 times with a shiv. He was denied clemency in October.
Jones, meanwhile, was sentenced to death for the 1999 killing of Edmond businessman Paul Howell. Jones has maintained his innocence and has gained support from several high-profile celebrities, including Kim Kardashian.
In response to Wednesday's order, Dale Baich, one of the attorneys for the death-row plaintiffs, said: "The Tenth Circuit did the right thing by blocking Mr. Grant's execution on Thursday.
"Today's order should prevent the State from carrying out executions until the federal district court addresses the 'credible expert criticism' it identified in Oklahoma's execution procedures. Those issues will be carefully reviewed by the court at the trial scheduled in February."
The state attorney general’s office, meanwhile, said it plans to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court.
"We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will vacate the stay so that justice can finally be served for the people of Oklahoma, including the families of the victims of these horrific crimes," a statement read.
The number of death sentences has dropped dramatically over the last two decades, however, state-ordered executions are still legal in 27 states.
In most states where the death penalty is legal, it's customary to give sentenced prisoners a special last meal of their choosing.
Restrictions do apply in some parts of the country — for example, in Florida the final meal can only cost up to $40, and it must be able to be prepared locally.
Listed below are some of the strangest final meal requests made by prisoners awaiting their deaths in the US:
LUMP OF DIRT
James Edward Smith, a former priest, was charged with robbery and murder in Harris County, Texas in March 1983.
On March 27 of that year, Smith entered the office of the Union Life Insurance Company armed with a pistol and wearing a mask.
He demanded the cashier, Larry Don Rohus, empty the cash draw.
Rohus obliged by Smith was unsatisfied with the total he'd been handed. He then shot the teller in the upper left side of his chest, a wound from which he later died.
Smith fled the building but was tackled by three bystanders in a nearby parking lot.
He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection.
When the date of his execution came around in June 1990, Smith, who was once a tarot card dealer in New Orleans, requested a lump of dirt as his final meal.
The 37-year-old asked for rhaeakunda dirt which is often associated with voodoo rituals. He said he wanted to use the dirt to mark his body so his spirit could move on.
When his request was denied, Smith settled on a cup of yogurt instead.
A SINGLE OLIVE
Victor Feguer, a drifter native to the state of Michigan, kidnapped a doctor in Iowa in July 1960 in the hope he'd teach him how to make drugs.
Feguer was renting a room in a boarding house at the time. He called Doctor Edward Bartels, claiming that a woman needed medical attention.
When Dr. Bartels arrived, Feguer kidnapped him. However, the doctor refused to help him, so Feguer shot him in the head and dumped his body in a cornfield.
A few days later, Feguer was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, after trying to sell Bartels' car.
It is believed that Feguer had chosen Bartels, a 34-year-old father of two, at random from the local Yellow Pages.
Feguer asked for a single olive with the pit still in it for his last meal.
He told guards he hoped an olive tree would sprout from his grave as a sign of peace.
After Feguer was pronounced dead, authorities found the pit from the olive in one of his suit pockets.
He was the last person to be put to death in Iowa. He was executed by hanging.
ROOM TEMPERATURE SPAGHETTI
Thomas J. Grasso was convicted of two murders between December 1990 and July 1991. One of the killings took place in Oklahoma, the second in New York.
Grasso already had a long criminal history when he robbed and murdered 87-year-old Hilda Johnson in Tulsa on Christmas Eve 1990 by strangling her with the electric cord from her holiday tree and bashing her head with an iron.
Eight months later, he killed Leslie Holtz, 81, in the Staten Island boardinghouse where they both lived.
Grasso was arrested two weeks after Leslie Holtz was killed and was convicted in the slaying, receiving a 20-year-to-life sentence in New York.
New York officials then extradited him to Oklahoma, where he pleaded guilty to Johnson's murder and was sentenced to death.
Grasso pushed for his own execution.
He requested a last meal of two dozen steamed mussels, two dozen steamed clams, a double cheeseburger from Burger King, a half-dozen barbecued spare ribs, two strawberry milkshakes, one-half of a pumpkin pie with whipped cream, diced strawberries, and SpaghettiOs – but he did not receive it
Instead, he was given spaghetti that was supposedly too warm.
In his final remarks, he reportedly showed distaste in the prison's kitchen staff for failing to fulfill his request.
“I did not get my SpaghettiOs, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this," he said.
TWO PINTS OF MINT ICE CREAM
Timothy McVeigh, the American terrorist behind the Oklahoma City bombing, was put to death in Indiana by lethal injection at the age of 33.
He was sentenced to death for 168 counts of murder.
The former soldier-come-security guard worker parked a rented Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
Inside the vehicle was a powerful bomb made out of a deadly cocktail of agricultural fertilizer, diesel fuel, and other chemicals.
McVeigh got out, locked the door, and headed towards his getaway car. He ignited one timed fuse, then another.
At two minutes past nine, the bomb exploded with a devastating effect – leveling a third of the building.
In total, 168 people died including 19 children. Several hundred others were hurt.
Incredibly, McVeigh was already in jail for a different crime by the time investigators identified him as the culprit.
He’d been pulled over about 80 miles north of Oklahoma City by a State Trooper who noticed a missing license plate on his yellow Mercury Marquis. McVeigh had a concealed weapon and was arrested. It was just 90 minutes after the bombing.
McVeigh was sentenced to death. For his last meal, he requested two pints of Ben & Jerry's mint chocolate chip ice cream which he ate in his windowless 9-by-14-foot holding cell.
The mass murderer was executed by lethal injection. He died with his eyes open, reports at the time said.
PIZZA FOR HOMELESS
Philip Ray Workman was a death row inmate executed in Tennessee on May 9, 2007.
He was convicted in 1982 for the murder of a police officer following a robbery of a Wendy's restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee, and sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Workman's robbery was foiled when a worker inside the restaurant triggered a silent alarm after he granted her request to stand up, claiming she had cramp in her leg.
Three officers responded to the scene. As he attempted to flee, Workman fired across a parking lot, fatally striking Lt. Ronald Oliver.
Workman declined a final meal for himself and instead asked that a large vegetarian pizza be given to a homeless person.
The prison officials denied his request and the workman refused to eat anything.
However, on the day of his execution, homeless shelters across the state began receiving vegetarian pizzas in droves after people from all over the country decided to honor Workman's request.
"Philip Workman was trying to do a good deed and no one would help him," said one woman who, together with friends, donated $1200 worth of pizzas to Nashville's Rescue Mission.
Lawrence Russell Brewer was a white supremacist convicted of killing a black man by dragging him to death in 1999.
Brewer, along with two others, abducted James Byrd Jr., took him to a remote country road in Jasper County, Texas beat him severely, spray-painted his face, urinated and defecated on him, and chained him by his ankles to their pickup truck before dragging him for about three miles.
He was executed in 2011. For his last meal, Brewer requested a literal feast consisting of two chicken fried steaks smothered in gravy with sliced onions, a triple meat bacon cheeseburger with the ‘fixings’ on the side, a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños, a large bowl of fried okra with ketchup, a pound of barbecue with a half a loaf of white bread, three fajitas, a meat lovers pizza, three root-beers, one pint of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts.
After receiving all the food he requested, Brewer refused to eat claiming that he was not hungry.
After the stunt, the state of Texas banned the tradition of honoring last meal requests.
REESE'S PIECES AND DR. PEPPER
Christopher Eugene Brooks was sentenced to death in 2016
Brooks sexually assaulted Jo Deann Campbell in her own apartment in Homewood on December 30, 1992, before killing her with an eight-pound dumbbell.
The pair had met working at a nearby summer camp but were not romantically involved.
Campbell let Brooks and a friend stay at her place for the night, but the next day she did not show up for work.
Police found the young woman's body, naked from the waist down, stashed under her bed.
For his last meal, Brooks ordered a pack of peanut butter cups and a Dr. Pepper.
OTHER FAMOUS REQUESTS
Some of the US' most famed serial killers also ordered some strange final meals before they were put to death.
John Wayne Gacy, also known as the "Killer Clown," requested a dozen deep-fried shrimp, a bucket of original recipe chicken from KFC, French fries, and a pound of strawberries before his execution in 1994.
Fellow serial murderer Ted Bundy declined a last meal, so he was offered a traditional plate of steak, eggs, hash browns, and coffee instead — none of which he ate.
Bundy was executed by the electric chair on January 24, 1989, after confessing to the murders of 30 women.
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