Arkansas carries out first double execution in US since 2000

25 Apr

Two inmates received lethal injections on the same gurney on Monday night about three hours apart as Arkansas completed the nation’s first double execution since 2000, just days after the state ended a nearly 12-year hiatus on administering capital punishment.

While the first inmate, Jack Jones, 52, was executed on schedule, shortly after 7pm, attorneys for the second, Marcel Williams, 46, convinced a federal judge minutes later to briefly delay his execution over concerns about how the earlier one was carried out. They claimed Jones “was moving his lips and gulping for air,” an account the state’s attorney general denied, but the judge lifted her stay about an hour later and Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33pm.

In the emergency filing, Williams’ attorneys wrote that officials spent 45 minutes trying to place an IV line in Jones’ neck before placing it elsewhere. It argued that Williams, who weighs 400 pounds, could face a “torturous” death because of his weight.

Intravenous lines are placed before witnesses are allowed access to the death chamber.

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. His chest stopped moving two minutes after they checked for consciousness, and he was pronounced dead at 7:20pm.

Initially, governor Asa Hutchinson scheduled four double executions over an 11-day period in April. The eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a compressed period since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The state said the executions needed to be carried out before its supply of one lethal injection drug expires on April 30.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply