Governor plans routine review of execution

Kari Scott
April 30, 2017

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

"I think it's totally unjustified", said Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The routine investigation he cited involves talking to Arkansas Department of Corrections staff, witnesses of the executions, and reviewing all documentation of the event. "I have children, and I would love for one last chance to see my dad and my kids together".

The current tussle between the State of Arkansas and the inmates on the death row brings to light the issues regarding the usage of lethal injections.

"It would be dishonest to say that this is an easy thing to do", Greenwood wrote.

All of the major manufacturers of injectable midazolam have said they do not want their drugs used in executions and majority have created control systems, including contracts with third-party drug distributors prohibiting the sale of their drugs for use in lethal injections.

Arkansas' execution protocol requires prison officials to dispose of any drugs that were prepared for an execution, but not used.

A reporter for The Associated Press who witnessed Williams' execution says his body jerked 15 times in quick succession about three minutes into the process. Then the rate slowed for a final five movements.

One of Williams' attorneys called the execution "horrifying".

Since Midazolam expires in a few days, the state won't be able to schedule anymore executions unless they find more drugs, which is not an easy task. Since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 1,452 people have been executed in the United States - all but 175 by lethal injection, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The Arkansas Supreme Court had denied Williams' motion for a stay of execution on Wednesday.

The execution also took place just before the expiration of the state's supply of sedatives used in lethal injections. He said in a tweet on Friday that nothing went wrong and that he Williams did not appear to suffer.

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Williams also spoke in tongues, the unintelligible but language-like speech used in some religions.

The lawsuit filed in a USA district court in Little Rock said: "If the midazolam fails to keep the prisoner under anesthesia, the prisoner would be awake and aware but unable to move or speak or even open his eyes, so he would then look completely serene despite being in agony".

About three minutes into Kenneth Williams' execution, his chest leaped forward against the leather restraint that secured him to the stainless steel gurney.

"Having never seen an execution like this, it looked like something was wrong", said Fox 16 news anchor Donna Terrell, one of the three media witnesses.

The execution of Ronald Bert Smith required two consciousness tests as the inmate heaved and coughed 13 minutes into the lethal injection. At the time of his escape, Williams was less than three weeks into a life term for the death of a college cheerleader.

Boren's widow said earlier that she planned to witness the execution. A federal judge dismissed a challenge to the night's second execution, saying Jones' execution did not appear to be "torturous and inhumane" in violation of constitutional standards. The inmates have died within 20 minutes of their executions beginning, a contrast from midazolam-related executions in other states that took anywhere from 43 minutes to two hours.

"Catholic Mobilizing Network is deeply saddened by the events in Arkansas last night", Karen Clifton, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network, said on Friday.

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

"When you have the procedures that were close together and under pressure, the likelihood of problems arising is much greater". "Or, more to the point, even if the protocol was followed, the protocol was fundamentally flawed".

"This is a new chapter in this story, and every time we have a new chapter it makes it more and more hard to obtain drugs and the states' options get more and more constrained", said Deborah Denno, a professor at Fordham University School of Law and an expert on the death penalty.

Williams' lawyers say he has sickle cell trait, lupus and brain damage, and that the combined maladies could subject him to an exceptionally painful execution in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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