One week from Thursday, death row inmate John Grant is scheduled to have his sentence carried out; but he and 3 other men slated for execution are in the middle of a last-ditch effort to put their dates on hold.
Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot gave the inmates' defense attorneys the green light to file any and all motions they think will keep their clients from the needle.
"There's an execution scheduled in a week and so if they're going to do it something's got to be done really quickly," said News 9's Legal Analyst Irven Box.
Grant would be the first person executed in Oklahoma in over six years on October 28.
Julius Jones is next up on the docket for November 18. In an effort to keep them from the execution room, their defense attorneys, along with Donald Grant and Gilbert Postelle filed to request a stay of their executions.
"Well stay of an execution simply just means, look court, we've got this execution date. We want you to stop it. Stay means stop it right now to take another look at what's going on to see if they're doing it correctly," said Box.
A stay differs from a clemency hearing as clemency changes the sentence completely from execution to life with or without parole.
"There's so many moving parts to this right now, I mean there's a lot of legal maneuvering both by the state and the defense lawyers," said Box. "I'm going to be surprised if we see an execution in this state before the first of the year."
The four men scheduled to be executed also want to be reinstated in a lawsuit they were previously dismissed from. That lawsuit challenges execution protocols, following two botched executions in 2015.
"Historically have had a lot of executions. We've executed other people when other states haven't. I think it puts us in the forefront nationally saying Oklahoma's just trying to execute people and not making us look very good," said Box.
The stay hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday. If the inmates are denied, Box said the next step could be the U.S. Supreme Court.