Arkansas inmate convulses during deadline-beating execution

Posted April 30, 2017

Relatives of a man killed by Williams in a crash during his 1999 escape from prison also pleaded with the governor to call off his execution. While interned at the Arkansas Department Correction's Cummins Unit, he escaped on a prison vehicle's hog slop container. If it goes through, Williams will be the state's fourth execution this month.

Arkansas executed its fourth inmate in eight days, ending a frantic schedule as the state's supply of lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April.

In Arkansas on Thursday a condemned inmate lurched and convulsed 20 times during a lethal injection that began with midazolam.

Wendy Kelley, director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, gave Williams a last opportunity to speak before the execution.

"The long path of justice ended tonight and Arkansans can reflect on the last two weeks with confidence that our system of laws in this state has worked", said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in a statement he released shortly after tonight's execution, the last lethal injection scheduled for this month.

Sklar said in a statement on Friday that Hutchinson "ignored the dangers" to beat the expiration date of the state's supply of midazolam on Sunday, April 30.

Arkansas' race to kill eight death-row inmates in 11 days has concluded, with four out of the eight dead. The execution, scheduled for 7 p.m., was delayed while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed Williams' requests to block his death sentence.

Traditionally, many states used a three-drug cocktail for lethal injections: The first (sodium thiopental or pentobarbital) put the prisoner to sleep; the second (pancuronium bromide) brought on paralysis; and the final agent (potassium chloride) stopped the heart.

"I humbly extend my sincerest of apologies to the families I senselessly wronged and deprived of their loved ones". He reportedly gasped for air for some 25 minutes while the drugs used in the execution- hydromorphone and midazolam- slowly took effect.

The lawsuit filed in a US 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".

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"There was no indication on his face of any pain, the lurching appeared to be involuntary", according to a pool report from three media witnesses.

Courts have blocked half of those, while three other death sentences have been carried out, including two back-to-back lethal injections Monday.

His attorneys had filed a petition Thursday with the high court seeking additional case review, arguing that he was intellectually disabled and "categorically ineligible to be put to death".

"It was not cruel, unusual, botched or torture", he added. He was convicted for Hurd's murder, sentenced to life in prison and charged with capital murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, theft and arson.

One of Cecil Boren's daughters said that any movement by Williams was "nothing compared to the pain felt by his victims". She says state officials typically describe execution irregularities as minor or normal but that it was hard to accept Arkansas' account. The lawyers for Williams tried unsuccessfully to win a last-minute stay of his execution with claims that Jones's execution by lethal injection "appeared to be torturous and inhumane".

Those inmates were the first to be put to death in Arkansas since 2005.

The governor said he does not think Arkansas needs to change its execution protocol, citing court rulings that have upheld the use of midazolam, which has also been used in flawed executions in other states. According to ABC 7, the family of Michael Greenwood bought plane tickets for Williams' daughter Jasmine Johnson and his granddaughter to visit him one last time.

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

Williams' lawyers had said he had sickle-cell trait, lupus and brain damage, and argued that the combined maladies could subject him to an exceptionally painful execution in violation of the Constitution.

Kenneth Williams' 21-year-old daughter, Jasmine Johnson, and her young daughter traveled to Varner Supermax, in Grady, using plane tickets purchased for them by the family of Michael Greenwood, whom Williams killed in a 1999 auto crash that occurred after Williams escaped from prison.