nsucurrent.com March 20, 2018

Arkansas executions: 'It was very methodical'

27 April 2017, 02:16 | Dan Bryan

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Top News Israel's Annual Holocaust Remembrance Day Amir Cohen  Pool

Arkansas will become the first USA state in 17 years to hold two executions on the same day, if two inmates are put to death as planned on Monday evening.

Williams was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Stacy Ericksson in 1994.

Yesterday's plans materialised as two inmates received lethal injections about three hours apart in Arkansas' first double execution in the USA since 2000. Minutes before his execution, a brief stay was granted so attorneys could argue the first execution did not go as planned. The state was set to execute Marcel Williams about an hour later after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Williams' last appeals, but a federal judge temporarily halted the proceedings due to an emergency filing from Williams' attorneys. "Infirmary staff tried unsuccessfully to place a central line in Mr. Jones's neck for 45 minutes before placing one elsewhere on his body".

The internal affairs log says Williams, who weighed 400 pounds, was restrained in the death chamber at 9:30 p.m. Monday, moments after a federal judge lifting a temporary stay that had blocked his execution.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has said the accelerated execution timetable was necessary as the state's stock of a sedative used in lethal injections will expire at the end of the month.

The initial eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a short period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Numerous legal clashes over Arkansas' plan focus on use of the drug midazolam, a sedative meant to render a condemned person unconscious before other drugs induce death.

Midazolam, a sedative used as part of the three-drug protocol, was used in flawed executions in Oklahoma and Arizona, where witnesses said the inmates writhed in apparent pain on the gurney.

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. Williams is scheduled for execution at about 8:15 p.m.

Arkansas' last double execution occurred in 1999.

Jones delivered about a two-minute final statement, ending with, "I'm sorry".

Williams was also a victim of sexual abuse.

Numerous appeals by Jones and Williams were rejected on Monday.

He also abducted and raped two other women.

The three examples of "juror misconduct" and other examples Williams raised earlier, including that at least one juror was unwilling to consider mitigating evidence, all deprived him of his Sixth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights, the attorneys argue.

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

The reporter also said Jones apologized before he died to the daughter of the woman he killed. His last words were personally directed to Lacey Phillips, Mary's daughter, who witnessed her mother's murder. There were questions as to whether or not Jones' execution was painless and humane.

Instead, they claimed, he remained conscious, moving his lips and "gulping for air" after it was administered. One convict was executed last week, while the fourth is scheduled to be executed on Thursday (27 April).

After going almost 12 years without executing an inmate, Arkansas now has executed three in a few days - including two in one night.

Lawyers for Jack Jones and Marcel Williams are seeking stays of execution on grounds of poor health.

This marks the first double execution the United States has seen since 2000.

He did not request a clemency hearing, saying in a letter, "Your wish is and always has been that I die and I could never ever deny you this".

Including Jones and Williams, nine people have been executed in the USA this year, four in Texas, three in Arkansas and one each in Missouri and Virginia.

"We know midazolam doesn't work", he said.

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