Arkansas executes first double execution in US for 16 years
The state of Arkansas, USA, carried out a double execution on Monday, after delivering a lethal injection to a second prisoner, Marcel Williams, on charges of kidnapping, rape and murder of a woman in 1994.
The first double execution to take place in the US in 16 years was carried out by Arkansas on Monday night amid a fierce dispute over whether the prisoners were subjected to a botched procedure amounting to unprecedented punishment. Prisoners Jack Jones and Marcel Williams were executed by lethal injection on charges of kidnapping, rape and murder of a woman in 1994.
About three hours after Jones was put to death, Williams, 46, died after receiving lethal doses of midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride at Cummins Unit prison, according to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. The inmate ordered fried chicken, banana pudding, nachos, french fries with ketchup and two soft drinks for his last meal.
Lawyers representing Williams instantly protested to the courts that it had taken 45 minutes for the execution team to find a vein into which they could inject the lethal cocktail into Jones. The attorneys warned that their client was obese, weighing 400 pounds, and that would render finding his veins even more difficult than his fellow death row inmate, as reported in The Guardian.
The double execution in Arkansas, carried out about three hours apart, marks something of a departure for the death penalty in both the state and the US, said The Guardian. Until this month, Arkansas had not executed anyone for 12 years and nationally capital punishment has been markedly declining, with only 20 executions last year, the lowest number since 1991.
The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, decided to buck this downward trend by announcing that he would schedule eight killings in 11 days, in order to use up a batch of the sedative medazolam that was expiring at the end of this month. Had all the executions taken place, it would have been the largest mass execution in the US for more than 50 years.
Williams was the third prisoner executed in Arkansas within the last four days, after Jack Jones, who received lethal injection earlier on the same day and Ledell Lee on Apr. 20.
This is the first double execution Arkansas carried out on the same day, 17 years after Texas last performed it in Aug. 2000.
A total of eight inmates were initially scheduled for executions. However, four of them have been granted temporary suspensions from the authorities. The eighth prisoner, Kenneth Williams, is still set to receive a lethal injection on Thursday.
Arkansas has so far executed 29 of those prisoners.