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Arkansas Executes Two More Men

Arkansas Executes Two More Men

Arkansas has become the first USA state in 17 years to execute more than one inmate on the same day.

On Monday night, the state of Arkansas killed inmates Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, completing the United States' first double execution since 2000. Jack Jones and Marcel Williams received lethal injections on the same gurney, just about three hours apart.

Arkansas on Monday became the first state since 2000 to carry out a double execution.

Williams' execution was delayed after a judge agreed to temporarily halt it over claims that the Jones execution wasn't carried out properly. Lawyers also filed a stay of execution with U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker immediately following Jones' execution, claiming that his death was proof of midazolam's ineffectiveness. Infirmary staff tried unsuccessfully for 45 minutes to place a line in Jones' neck, before placing one elsewhere on his body, the emergency motion read.

It argued that Williams, who weighs 400 pounds, could face a "torturous" death because of his weight. Arkansas still has one man awaiting execution before the deadline of the drug expiration. The four others have been blocked.

States with the death penalty have struggled to obtain enough lethal injection drugs, including midazolam, as manufacturers and distributors have increasingly refused to provide supplies for capital punishment.

Department of Corrections spokesman Solomon Graves delivered the news from the state's death chamber.

Williams' attorneys wrote in an earlier court filing that his "morbid obesity makes it likely that either the IV line can not be placed or that it will be placed in error, thus causing substantial damage (like a collapsed lung)".

The executions involve an injection of three drugs, the first being the drug that was set to expire on April 30 - midazolam - never before used by the state of Arkansas. Before being killed, Jones gave a long final statement, in which he apologized to the daughter of Mary Phillips. The other lethal injections were called off because of legal appeals.

Both Williams and Jones' lawyers challenged the use of midazolam to sedate the inmates, claiming their particular medical conditions would render the drug ineffective.

The family of Stacy Errickson did not want to speak after Williams' execution.

In addition to arguing that Williams and Jones would suffer unnecessarily due to their physical impairments, both men were said to have mental and emotional problems as a result of childhood abuse and trauma.

Jones was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of Mary Phillips.

A report released earlier this month by Amnesty International showed that for the first time since 2006, and only the second time since 1991, the U.S. was not among the world's five biggest executioners. He strangled her with the cord to a coffee pot.

After both men were dead, Gov. Hutchinson released a statement after the executions saying, "Justice has prevailed". One involved Ronald Smith who "moved and gasped" for more than 10 minutes after he was injected in December past year and Joseph Wood, who "gasped for air" for two hours in July 2014.

The inmates sued over the sedative used in the two-drug protocol.

The two death row inmates were executed with the questionable drug cocktail within three hours of one another in the Cummins Unit prison, 75 miles from the state capitol. Stays for the other four inmates scheduled to die this month have been issued for a variety of reasons- including to test new DNA evidence and to decide whether one inmate is too mentally impaired to be executed.

I wish I could take it back, but I can't, Williams told the board.

The state's next scheduled execution is Thursday. When he was returned to the death chamber, he was given a chance to speak last words, but shook his head no, the log of activities said.

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