Federal court rejects application for stay of executions in Oklahoma.
A federal court on Friday denied a request to stay the executions of four death row inmates in Oklahoma.
Julius Jones, Wade Lay, Donald Grant, and Gilbert Postelle have been fighting to stop their executions, which are scheduled for the next three months, The Associated Press reported.
An appeal to halt the executions was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which ruled that the merits of the inmates’ claims would likely not stand up.
The inmates argued that the sedative midazolam, the drug used for lethal injections, could cause them extreme pain during their executions.
They also claimed that the state would violate their religious rights if they chose their own alternative method of execution because making that choice would amount to inciting their own suicides.
“The appellants are not paying for their religious beliefs with their lives; at most they are missing a delay in the execution of a sentence that … is constitutional, ”the court said, according to AP.
All four inmates face the death penalty after having been previously convicted of murder.
The court’s decision comes after the Supreme Court ruled in October to lift a stay imposed on two executions in Oklahoma.
The stay was issued by a lower appeals court out of concern that the executions could inflict undue suffering. After he was lifted, another Oklahoma inmate convicted of murder, John Grant, was executed by lethal injection in a controversial execution that saw him convulse and vomit violently.
Jones was the only other inmate to receive a suspension in that previous case. However, it is now set to run on Thursday.
Jones’ upcoming execution has received widespread attention, with celebrities calling on the governor to suspend the proceedings.
He maintains that he was indicted for the murder for which he was convicted and sentenced to death, AP noted.