Arkansas Prepares for 1st Double Execution in US Since 2000

Glen Mclaughlin
May 3, 2017

Convicted murderers Jack Jones and Marcel Williams were administered lethal injections on Monday (24 April), which was the first double execution in the USA since 2000.

Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m.

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

Jack Jones and Marcel Williams were the latest to be executed.

Six others were set to be executed along with Jones and Williams in the span of 11 days, though a court has ordered a stay of execution for four of the eight inmates.

"Because Mr. Jones's execution appeared to be torturous and inhumane, Mr. Williams moves for an immediate stay of his execution pending further review of the Jones execution in this Court", Williams's lawyers said in the motion to stay on Monday night.

Around 10:30p.m. Monday night, the state completed the first double execution in the United States since 2000.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an inmate's requests to block his execution, scheduled for Thursday night. Arkansas had planned to execute eight inmates in ten days because its supply of midazolam, a sedative used in lethal injections, is expiring at the end of the month. Inmate Jason McGehee also had been scheduled to die that day, but a parole board has recommended his life be spared and a judge ruled that the state had to allow a 30-day period for public comment before making a final decision.

Four inmates have won reprieves, but Jones and Williams were the second and third to be executed and a fourth inmate faces death on Thursday.

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In addition to arguing that Williams and Jones would suffer unnecessarily due to their physical impairments, both men were said to have mental and emotional problems as a result of childhood abuse and trauma. The number of executions has fallen every year since 2009, (except 2012, when it stayed the same).

Both men were served last meals on Monday afternoon, Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said.

According to court records, Jones stalked and killed Phillips, a book-keeper, and before killing her, he beat her 11-year-old daughter so severely that police thought she was dead when they got to the scene. Phillips was found with a coffee-pot cord tied around her neck in her office.

Just after the death of Jack Jones, Marcel Williams' lawyers have specifically launched a final appeal in court, claiming that the first run was not successful. He told the jury that since he was bipolar himself, he knew that Jones wasn't bipolar. One involved Ronald Smith who "moved and gasped" for more than 10 minutes after he was injected in December past year and Joseph Wood, who "gasped for air" for two hours in July 2014.

Williams was on death row for the 1994 kidnapping, rape and strangling death of 22-year-old Stacy Errickson, a mother of two. Williams requested three piece of fried chicken, potato logs with ketchup, nachos with chili cheese and jalapenos, and two Mountain Dews.

Jones ate fried chicken, potato logs with tartar sauce, beef jerky bites, three candy bars, a chocolate milkshake and fruit punch.

The state attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, says the inmates' appeals are merely delaying tactics. "I wish I could take it back but I can't". After lethal injection drugs are administered witnesses have to rely only on sight to evaluate an execution. The state had initially planned to execute eight people within 11 days this month-an unprecedented rate of executions in modern USA history.

Twenty were executed a year ago, down from 98 in 1999 and the lowest number since 14 in 1991.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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