Arkansas Carries Out 1st Execution Of Night, Prepares For 2nd

Erica Roy
April 25, 2017

Arkansas has executed Jack Harold Jones for the 1995 rape and murder of Mary Phillips, the first of two executions scheduled Monday night. Jones was pronounced dead at 7:20 Monday night, 14 minutes after the procedure began at the state's Cummins Unit in southeast Arkansas.

Justices rejected Williams' request for a stay Monday night. He was also convicted of attempting to kill Phillips' 11-year-old daughter and was convicted in another rape and killing in Florida.

Williams' attorneys said in an emergency filing late Monday that it took 45 minutes for prison staff to place an IV into Jones, possibly because of his overweight frame.

The double execution, the first since Texas put to death two inmates on the same day in 2000, came with state officials on a condensed timetable to carry out the death sentences before the state's supply of the sedative midazolam expires April 30. One inmate was put to death last week, though the first three executions were canceled because of court rulings. Thirty-one states use the death penalty, with lethal injection being the primary method.

In recent pleadings before state and federal courts, the inmates said the three drugs Arkansas uses to execute prisoners - midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride - could be ineffective due to their poor health.

The attorneys' last-minute filing said Jones showed "continued consciousness" after the midazolam was administered.

Williams' "morbid obesity makes it likely that either the IV line can not be placed or that it will be placed in error, thus causing substantial damage (like a collapsed lung)", his attorneys wrote in an earlier court filing asking justices to block the execution.

Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves says the inmates were both served last meals Monday afternoon. Jones had fried chicken, potato logs with tartar sauce, beef jerky bites, three candy bars, a chocolate milkshake and fruit punch. Williams also had fried chicken and potato logs, along with banana pudding, nachos with chili cheese and jalapenos and Mountain Dew.

"The evidence that Jones provides regarding his specific medical conditions falls short of distinguishing himself from Lee or any other inmates, and it fails to demonstrate that the protocol will create a demonstrated risk of severe pain if applied to him", said the court.

Arkansas put Ledell Lee to death last week in its first execution since 2005. Williams, 46, weighs 400 pounds, is diabetic and has concerns that the execution team might not be able to find a suitable vein to support an intravenous line.

Lawyers for Jones argued that their client should not be put to death because diabetes, hypertension and many narcotics prescribed to him over the years would mean that "he is likely to be either not rendered unconscious and thus suffer a painful death in violation of the Eighth Amendment, or be left alive but brain damaged". Arkansas' last double execution occurred in 1999.

A second execution is planned for later Monday, though inmate Marcel Williams still has pending appeals.

Arkansas executed four men in an eight-day period in 1960. He was convicted in 1995 of murdering a woman in her home two years earlier.

Williams was convicted of raping and murdering 22-year-old Stacy Errickson after kidnapping her from a Jacksonville gas station and forcing her to withdraw money from several ATMs in 1994.

"Your wish is and always has been that I die", he wrote. Phillips was found naked from the waist down with the cord from a coffee pot wrapped around her neck. "I made every effort to be a good person - I practiced Buddhism and studied physics", the note said, according to the news organization. The letter, which his attorney read aloud at his clemency hearing, went on to say: "I shall not ask to be forgiven, for I haven't the right".

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

Discuss This Article