Arkansas Carries Out 4th Execution in 8 Days

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas executed its fourth inmate in a week, ending a frantic schedule caused by the looming expiration of the state's supply of lethal injection drugs.

Kenneth Williams, 38, was initially sentenced to life in prison for the 1998 killing of a university cheerleader. He was later convicted of capital murder after he escaped from prison and killed a man.

"I was more than wrong. The crime I perpetrated against you all was senseless," Williams said in his last words during his execution Thursday night, according to CNN affiliate KATV.

He died by lethal injection at 11:05 p.m. local time, the last of eight inmates originally scheduled to be put to death this month.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson had put a temporary hold on Williams' execution Thursday evening to allow the US Supreme Court to consider motions for stays of execution. The court denied all the motions.

Prison escapee

Williams was convicted in the 1998 killing of Dominique Hurd, the university cheerleader.

In 1999, he escaped from Cummins prison and killed Cecil Boren at his home just a couple miles away. He was captured after causing a traffic accident that killed a driver, Michael Greenwood of Missouri. 

He was convicted of capital murder for Boren's death in 2000.  Boren's widow, Gail, had said earlier that she planned to witness the execution.  She talked with reporters after the execution was carried out:


Seventeen years after that conviction, Williams was executed at the same Cummins prison he escaped from.

From April 20 - April 27, inmates Ledell Lee, Jack Jones, Marcel Williams and Kenneth Williams, all paid the price of their crimes by being put to death by lethal injection. Eight death row inmates were originally scheduled to die in Arkansas over that span, but half were spared. 

During that eight-day span, Arkansas also made history by performing the first double-execution the United States has seen in 17 years. Jack Jones and Ledell Lee were both killed Monday, April 24, just hours apart.  

Every inmate's pleas for Stays of Execution and reconsideration worked their way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. But, ultimately, what the justice system promised from the very beginning of each of their death row sentences held true.  

The state will presumably halt any future death row executions due to a lack of means. Midazolam, the drug used in the most recent executions expire this month and, as seen from the legal battles the drug companies put up in this round of executions, a fresh supply will be hard to come by. 

Unless new drugs can be obtained by the state of Arkansas, or an alternative form of capital punishment is put in place, the remaining Arkansas death row inmates will live.

One manufacturer or midazolam, West-Ward Pharmacueticals, filed a brief in support of the eight inmates this month, saying it tries to ensure its midazolam isn't used in executions.

One of the media witnesses, Donna Terrell of FOX 16 in Little Rock, told CNN affiliate KARK that after the midazolam was injected, Williams' chest started going up and down rapidly.

It continued for several minutes, Terrell said, from 10:55 pm to 10:59 pm, at which point it appeared he stopped breathing, or it was no longer noticeable.

Even though the microphone was turned off, Terrell said, the witnesses could still hear heavy breathing.

But there was no expression on Williams' face. It didn't appear as if he was in pain, she said.

The executions have drawn international outcry.

"While the rest of the country and the world moves away from the death penalty, Arkansas has shown just how committed it is to running in the wrong direction," said James Clark, a senior campaigner at Amnesty International USA. "While it is too late for Kenneth Williams, Jack Jones, Marcel Williams, and Ledell Lee, it is not too late to commute the sentences of all of those remaining on death row.

Here's a recap...

Ledell Lee

Lee died by lethal injection Thursday, April 20, at 11:56 p.m., just 4 minutes before his death warrant was to expire at midnight.

Lee had been on death row since 1995. On his final night, in lieu of a traditional last meal, Lee requested communion.

Prosecutors referred to him as a "psychosexual serial rapist."

After spending 22 years on death row, Lee maintained his innocence until the end.

Jack Jones

Jones died by lethal injection Monday, April 24, at 7:20 p.m., the only inmate whose execution went on schedule.

Jones was sentenced to death after committing violent crimes against a woman and her daughter more than 20 years ago.

In a letter to his victims, Jones said, "Your wish is and always has been that I die and I could never ever deny you this."

Marcel Williams

Williams died by lethal injection Monday, April 24, at 10:33 p.m.

Williams was sentenced to death after he committed crimes against three women, killing one.

He cried during his most recent clemency hearing, apologizing for what he did to his victims.

Kenneth Williams

Williams died by lethal injection Thursday, April 27, at 11:05 p.m.

Williams was sentenced to death in 2000. He was responsible for killing a total of four people.

Williams spent 17 years on death row. On his final night, Williams requested communion as well.

Some of his victim's families said they forgave him for what he did.




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