Coughing, convulsing and calls for probe after Arkansas execution


Coughing, convulsing and calls for probe after Arkansas execution

"We tried over and over again to get the state to comport with their own protocol to avoid torturing our client to death, and yet reports from the execution witnesses indicate that Mr. Williams suffered during this execution", said Shawn Nolan, one of his lawyers.

Williams' attorneys released a statement calling the witness accounts "horrifying" and demanding an investigation into the "problematic execution".

A reporter for The Associated Press who witnessed Williams' execution says his body jerked 15 times in quick succession about three minutes into the process.

Clifton maintained that Williams' death, as well as the double-execution on Monday, "have raised concerns of possible complications related to the use of controversial drugs".

On Thursday night, Arkansas carried out the fourth of eight executions it scheduled over 11 days, putting Kenneth Williams to death for the murder of a deputy prison warden almost two decades earlier. In recent years, botched executions in Alabama and OH resulted in heaving, coughing, snorting, gurgling and violent motions from the inmates who were administered the drug. Each of several stay requests has been rejected or overturned, and it will take a court order to prevent his execution at 7 p.m. Thursday.

As I say, I've written our four children that if someone murdered their mother or me, I expect them to ask that our murderer be spared.

Williams would be Arkansas' fourth execution in eight days after not conducting one since 2005.

Williams was convicted of killing four people, including Missouri resident Michael Greenwood. Some of those companies have even asked wholesalers who sell drug components to compounding pharmacies to sign contracts that they will not sell the manufacturers' ingredients to compounders that plan to make lethal injection drugs.

One minute after the conference call ended, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker allowed the second execution, of Marcel Williams, to proceed.

Coughing, convulsing and calls for probe after Arkansas execution
Coughing, convulsing and calls for probe after Arkansas execution

After Johnson's visit with her father, Greenwood told the News-Leader that it went well.

His lawyers unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay, saying the inmate should not be executed because three health care professionals had determined he was "intellectually disabled". Executions using midazolam have had troubling results, with inmates taking a much longer time to die, shaking uncontrollably or gasping for air in the meantime.

The deaths on April 24 were the nation's first double execution in almost 17 years. Despite their attempts at stopping the death penalty, Arkansas officials were successful at killing their death row inmates before their supply of midazolam expired at the end of the month. Catholic Mobilizing Network in Washington, an advocacy group seeking to end the death penalty, similarly sent Twitter updates the night of the execution and each of the eight days when other inmates were executed, including two executions April 24.

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.

Wendy Kelley, director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, said in an affidavit Thursday that she saw none of that activity. The state scheduled the execution of Kenneth Williams for Thursday night.

Arkansas kicked off its series of executions on Thursday of last week, putting convicted murderer Ledell Lee to death at its Cummins Unit, near Varner, Arkansas. He lurched violently against the leather chest restraint, then the rate slowed for a final five movements.

In June 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the use of midazolam in executions in a 5-4 ruling.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also reiterated its opposition to executions and said its office was "deeply concerned and deeply troubled" by the Arkansas prisoners' deaths. The Arkansas Department of Correction has said it has no new source for the drug - though it has made similar remarks previously yet still found a new stash.