Arkansas carries out 'first double execution' in U.S. since 2000

Tabitha Dunn
May 3, 2017

The southern state of Arkansas, rushing to execute several inmates before a lethal drug expires next week, put to death two inmates late Monday, the first double execution in the United States in 17 years.

Inmate Jack Jones was executed earlier in the evening.

The last U.S. state to execute two convicts in one night was Texas in August 2000.

Originally, the two were set to be killed within an hour of one another, but after attorneys for Williams witnessed the execution of Jones, they called for an emergency stay of execution on the grounds that the execution they witnessed was "torturous and inhumane". Williams died at around 10:30 p.m. Jones's execution is reminiscent of the botched killing of Clayton Lockett, whose prolonged, mangled death by lethal injection in Oklahoma garnered worldwide headlines in 2014.

Reporters allowed to witness the execution said Jones' lips were seen moving after the first drug was administered but did not specifically suggest he appeared to be conscious after more than five minutes, according to local media reports. U.S. District Judge Price Marshall Jr. put the execution on hold this month after the state Parole Board recommended Gov. Asa Hutchinson grant him clemency.

Prior to the executions of the two men on Monday night, attorneys representing Jones had appealed on the basis that he would die painfully since there was a possibility he had a resistance to midazolam, one of the drugs used in the chemical execution. Marcel Wayne Williams and Jack Harold Jones were scheduled for Monday April 24.

Of the four executions scheduled prior to Monday, three were ultimately stayed.

Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said that the lip movement was Jones apologizing and thanking department director, Wendy Kelley.

When she came around, her mother was dead, naked from the waist down and had a cord from a nearby coffee pot wrapped around her neck.

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Jack Jones, convicted of raping and killing a woman, was put to death by lethal injection.

KAUFFMAN: Before this month, Arkansas hadn't put an inmate to death in almost 12 years.

Baker heard testimony from attorneys for the inmates, Jones' spiritual adviser and an official with the attorney general's office.

Jones, who'd argued that his health conditions could lead to a painful death, gave a lengthy last statement. Jones requested three pieces of fried chicken, potato logs with tartar sauce, three butterfingers, a chocolate milkshake and fruit punch.

In 1994, Williams kidnapped, raped, beat, and strangled Stacy Errickson after forcing her to take cash from an ATM at gunpoint. Williams requested three piece of fried chicken, potato logs with ketchup, nachos with chili cheese and jalapenos, and two Mountain Dews.

The two men are the second and third prisoners killed in April in the state that had initially planned to execute eight prisoners in 11 days.

Williams has been transferred to Arkansas' Cummins Unit, where executions are carried out. "I wish I could take it back but I can't". His lawyers had filed a flurry of last-minute challenges, including accusations that the state had improperly carried out Jones' execution just minutes earlier.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray had made an order halting the use of vecuronium bromide in the state's lethal injection process, but Justices on Thursday overturned it.

So far, only one person has been executed. Last year, 20 people were executed, down from 98 in 1999 and the lowest number since 14 in 1991, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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