Fourth Arkansas inmate executed in eight days lurches on gurney

Erica Roy
April 30, 2017

(Stephen B. Thornton/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP).

JACK JONES: Executed April 24 in Arkansas.

(AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel).

Williams' attorneys are calling for an investigation into the execution.

FILE - This March 25, 2017, file photo, shows a sign for the Department of Correction's Cummins Unit prison in Varner, Ark. The executions were set to begin April 17 and continue till the end of the month before one of the drugs used to sedate the inmates- Midazolam- expires.

The execution of an inmate is raising questions about lethal injection Kenneth Williams was the fourth inmate put to death in eight days in the Arkansas.

The next morning, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a news conference that Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley had described Williams' movement as "coughing without noise".

Nolan and the American Civil Liberties Union have called for an investigation into whether the execution on Thursday night amounted to death through torture. 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. Through his spokesman J.R. Davis, Hutchinson said he did not believe the execution needs a formal review.

Questions about midazolam come as use of the death penalty slowly declines in the USA following its reintroduction in 1976, four years after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.

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.

"I humbly extend my sincerest of apologies to the families I senselessly wronged and deprived of their loved ones". The law takes effect next year.

"Reading her story, it took the words right out of my mouth", Greenwood said.

"There was no indication on his face of any pain, the lurching appeared to be involuntary", according to a pool report from three media witnesses.

Williams died by lethal injection at 11:05 p.m. local time.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled the ADC must request the state medical examiner's office collect the samples by 8 p.m. Friday night.

The U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday cleared the way for Williams' execution after he unsuccessfully petitioned the Eighth Circuit for a stay. 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 outcome of death. He first killed Cecil Boren and, during a police chase, he killed Michael Greenwood in a vehicle crash. At the time of his escape in a 500-gallon barrel of hog slop, Williams was less than three weeks into a life term for the death of a college cheerleader.

One of Cecil Boren's daughters said that any movement by Williams was "nothing compared to the pain felt by his victims".

State officials have called Arkansas' string of executions a success, declaring justice served and "closure" for victims' families.

Earlier this week when a double execution was carried out in Arkansas, attorneys representing the second inmate applied for an emergency stay after witnessing what they called an "inhumane", treatment of the first inmate.

States generally didn't use midazolam in the past, but they've turned to it as drug makers clamped down on the use of other drugs in executions. Midazolam, a sedative, has been said to be related to botched executions in the past, so after Williams experienced convulsions three minutes into the execution, his attorneys spoke out, Fox News reported.

"At a minimum, this was a deviation from the protocol".

Williams suffered from sickle cell trait, lupus and organic brain damage, according to court filings. The Arkansas Supreme Court denied the claim.

After his conviction in Hurd's killing, Kenneth Williams escaped from Cummins prison the following year and killed Boren at his home a couple miles away. Per a statement by the Governor, in 1999, Williams was serving a life sentence for murder. At the conclusion of that trial, he had taunted the young woman's family by turning to them after the sentence was announced and saying "You thought I was going to die, didn't you?"

Before Williams was arrested again, he fled from police in a high-speed chase that also killed Michael Greenwood, a truck driver.

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