Arkansas Executes Two More Inmates, Another Scheduled Thursday

Katrina Soto
April 27, 2017

Arkansas carried out the executions of two death row inmates Monday, the first double execution in the United States since 2000.

The southern state of Arkansas has carried out the first double execution in the United States in almost 17 years, forging on with a controversial push to execute a string of inmates before a lethal drug expires at the end of the month. Williams was executed and pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m.

Lawyers for the second of two prisoners scheduled to be killed by lethal injection by Arkansas state on the same day dramatically halted his execution after it was suggested the first execution had been botched. Williams' attorneys had claimed infirmary staff tried unsuccessfully to place a central line in Jones' neck for 45 minutes before placing one elsewhere on his body. His attorney argued in court documents just after Jones' execution that complications made his final moments appear "to be torturous and inhuman".

Up until last week, the state hadn't held an execution since 2005. Arkansas still has one man awaiting execution before the deadline of the drug expiration. Courts have blocked four lethal injections, including at least one that was called off only hours before the inmate was to enter the death chamber. The eight executions were pushed by the state before its supply of a lethal injection drug expires on April 30.

Prison spokesman Solomon Graves said the policy has been in place since at least 1990, though he declined to produce a copy of the policy, which he said was exempt from public disclosure.

According to a log of the execution released by the state Tuesday, it took officials eight minutes to connect Jones to IV lines and 40 minutes to connect Williams. In Jones' last words he said, "I can't believe I did something to her". The U.S. was the first to develop the method of lethal injection. He used a wheelchair and he had a leg amputated in prison because of diabetes.

According to a statement from Jason Kearney, an attorney for Williams, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson refused to speak with Windle during a clemency hearing April 24.

Williams was executed Monday night. Around the time of Ericksson's murder, Williams allegedly attacked and raped three other women.

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In the case of Williams, it wrote that the convict "has a long (and all too often successful) history of using piecemeal and dilatory litigation to manipulate the judicial process and prevent Arkansas from carrying out his just and lawful execution".

Jones, 52, faced the death penalty for the 1995 rape and murder of Mary Phillips, an Arkansas bookkeeper, and for attempting to kill Phillips' 11-year-old daughter.

Jones was given the death penalty for the 1995 rape and killing of Mary Phillips.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker had said earlier this month that Arkansas' execution protocol doesn't outline what would happen if the inmate were to remain conscious even if given a double dose. He strangled her with the cord to a coffee pot. Ledell Lee was put to death last week while the next execution, of Kenneth Dewayne Williams, is scheduled for Thursday. Before his execution, Jones apologized to the daughter of the woman he brutally murdered.

They "did not wait 5 minutes to perform the consciousness check".

An Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution said Jones moved his lips briefly after the midazolam was administered, and officials put a tongue depressor in his mouth intermittently for the first few minutes.

"After last night's experience, I saw nothing that was inhumane that would have caused me to change my mind" about the death penalty, said Hammer, who supports capital punishment.

"As far as we could tell, the inmate wasn't having any sort of trouble throughout it", she said.

Other reports by My Hot News

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