Arkansas carries out last execution before drug expires
08:35, May 11, 2017
Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material can't be published, transferred, copied or redistributed.
Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, convicted separately of rape and murder in the 1990s, were executed on Monday in the nation's first double execution in almost 17 years.
The method was first proposed in 1888 by a NY doctor as a cheaper way of execution but was not accepted.
According to several witnesses present at the time of his death, Williams reportedly convulsed for several minutes after the drugs were delivered into his body, a sign that he may have been experiencing great pain.
Arkansas' remaining supply of midazolam expires Sunday, and it's not known where the state will be able to get more of the sedative or its dwindling supply of the other two drugs. "Mr. Williams' execution must be reviewed to investigate the witnesses' accounts and determine whether the state tortured Mr. Williams before killing him".
Shawn Nolan, a lawyer for Williams, and the American Civil Liberties Union on Friday asked Arkansas to investigate.
He died by lethal injection at 11:05 p.m. local time, the last of eight inmates originally scheduled to be put to death this month. That would have been the most in such a compressed period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, but courts issued stays for four of the inmates.
The state resumed executions in January 2015 with the lethal injection of Charles Warner and was just moments away from executing another inmate, Richard Glossip, in September 2015 when it was determined the wrong drug was delivered to the prison for Glossip's execution.
For his last meal, Williams asked to be served Holy Communion, and in his final statement, he apologized to the families of his victims he "senselessly wronged and deprived of their loved ones".
Williams read a prepared final statement and also spoke in tongues, the unintelligible speech used in some religions. The sedative, midazolam, is a controversial replacement for anesthetics that Arkansas and other states can no longer obtain.
Lawyers for the state said in a court filing that while a mental evaluation had once showed Williams' IQ at "low average", part of that could be attributed to his not cooperating with the doctors who tested him.
A number of executions in recent years using midazolam-in Alabama, Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma-have resulted in inmates suffering excruciating deaths, gasping for breath and writhing on the execution gurney, appearing not to have been adequately sedated by midazolam. Three media witnesses are allowed.
Lethal injection traditionally required a three-drug cocktail: The first (sodium thiopental or pentobarbital) put the prisoner to sleep; the second (pancuronium bromide) brought on paralysis; and the final agent (potassium chloride) stopped the heart. They also said there was an audible moan from Williams during the execution process. The state also notes the Supreme Court has drawn a distinction between pain that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, and pain that is a effect of death.
Williams was sentenced to death for killing Cecil Boren after escaping from the Cummins Unit prison in a 500-gallon barrel of hog slop.
Her decision came after Jason McGhee, a death-row inmate who had also been scheduled to die on Thursday, filed an emergency order.
"It's not closure, we just don't have to endure this anymore", Boren's daughter, Jodie Efrid, told reporters.
In Geneva, Elizabeth Throssell, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that her office is "deeply concerned and deeply troubled by these executions".
Even though the microphone was turned off, Terrell said, the witnesses could still hear heavy breathing.
The attorneys seek a full investigation of Williams' execution, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state will conduct only a routine review that's done after every lethal injection.
"At a minimum, this was a deviation from the protocol". On Monday, Arkansas carried out the nation's first double-execution in 17 years, putting to death Jack Jones Jr., 52, and Marcell Williams, 46.
The inmate executed on Thursday, Kenneth Williams, 38, had been convicted of a 1998 killing of Dominique Hurd, but after he escaped from prison he was convicted again in 1999 on capital murder charges for the killing of Cecil Boren.