Monday, 23 October, 2017

Arkansas carries out nation's first double execution since 2000

Audio On Arkansas Practice To Restrict Execution Audio Arkansas carries out nation's first double execution since 2000
Carol Daniels | 03 May, 2017, 02:15

Fifty two year-old Jake Harold Jones was pronounced dead at 7:20 pm CDT, according to a timeline confirmed by the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Jones Jr., 52, and Marcel Williams, 46, both died from the injection of a three-drug combination, after a flurry of failed, last-ditch appeals.

Two inmates have been given lethal injections as Arkansas completed the first double execution in the U.S. since 2000.

Williams' execution was delayed after a judge agreed to temporarily halt it over claims that the Jones execution wasn't carried out properly.

Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m. Monday, 17 minutes after the procedure began at the Cummins Unit in southeast Arkansas.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson initially scheduled eight executions within a span of 11 days, which would have been the highest number of killings in such a compressed period since the Supreme Court death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

But Williams' lawyers said Jones' execution appeared "torturous and inhumane" because infirmary staff struggled to insert a central line in his body through which to administer the drug.

Arkansas' last double execution was on September 8, 1999, according to the Department of Corrections. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Williams' request for a stay of execution.

The state of Arkansas planned to execute eight men in 11 days because its supply of the controversial sedative, midazolam, which has been behind several botched executions in recent years, is set to expire at the end of the month.

A lawsuit from the company that makes one of the execution drugs has been among a wave of legal challenges to the state's unprecedented execution schedule. The jury sentenced Jack Jones to death, and his sentence was upheld by judges and reviewed thoroughly in courts of appeal at each level.

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However, he said that he prospect of the man's execution, which arose and disappeared continuously, "means reliving the hurt of the murder itself, and that every stay of execution now feels like an insult to his wife".

Jones raped and murdered 34-year-old Mary Philips and brutally assaulted her daughter Lacy in 1995. Phillips was found with a coffee-pot cord tied around her neck in her office. "As far as we could tell, the inmate was not having any trouble throughout it".

The state attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, says the inmates' appeals are merely delaying tactics. There were questions as to whether or not Jones' execution was painless and humane.

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

On the morning of November 20, 1994 in Jacksonville, Ark., Williams forced motorist Stacy Errickson, 22, at gunpoint into the passenger seat of her vehicle at a gas station and forced her to withdraw money from 18 automatic teller machines for a sum totaling $350.

Midazolam, a sedative, is one of three drugs used in a lethal injection.

Spokesman Solomon Graves says Jack Jones was talking to prisons director Wendy Kelley at the start of his execution, which lasted 14 minutes.

The first execution was carried out on April 20.

He did not request a clemency hearing, saying in a letter, "Your wish is and always has been that I die and I could never ever deny you this".

Williams' legal team had earlier argued that his extreme obesity - Williams weighed 400 pounds (180 kilograms) - would make it hard to find a proper vein for the lethal injection. The last U.S. state to have executed two inmates in one day is Texas, on 9 August 2000.

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