Double Execution Carried Out In Arkansas: First Time in 17 Years
These deaths are part of a very controversial schedule of accelerated executions, due to the lapse of a substance used in fatal injections.
For the first time in the United States for 17 years, Arkansas proceeded on Monday evening to a double execution of two condemned to death, announced the attorney general of this southern state, Leslie Rutledge. Jack Jones and Marcel Williams were each given a lethal injection in the 1990s for rape and murder, a statement said. Their lawyers battled in the courts until the final minutes before seeing their last rejected judicial remedies.
Just after the death of Jack Jones, Marcel Williams’ lawyers have specifically launched a final appeal in court , claiming that the first run was not successful. According to them, the prison officers initially failed to install a central catheter at Jones’ neck, being forced to fall back on the laying of two peripheral venous channels on the prisoner’s arms.
Six to seven minutes after the injection of the first product supposed to plunge the prisoner into a deep unconsciousness, the prisoner “stirred his lips and struggled to breathe,” they wrote in their appeal. Federal Judge Kristine Baker then took an injunction to temporarily suspend the second planned execution, to examine the validity of these arguments.
The State, for its part, denounced “completely unfounded” assertions by assuring that the first execution was carried out according to the rules. Once the injunction was lifted, Marcel Williams was put to death while capital punishment activists held a funeral vigil outside the prison.
The target of judicial remedies
Their death is part of a very controversial schedule of accelerated executions in Arkansas, due to the close expiration of a substance used in fatal injections. 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.
But this program of hasty executions has been the target of multiple judicial remedies and an international mobilization of opponents to the death penalty. He was denounced by the European Union , Amnesty International , Human Rights Watch or by the master of the black novel John Grisham, a native of Arkansas.
This battle in the courts has resulted in the suspension of four of the planned executions, a fifth of which was carried out last Thursday. In addition to the two executions carried out on Monday, one is scheduled for 27 April. The last US state to have executed two inmates in one day is Texas, on 9 August 2000.