Arkansas Executions 2017

A condemned Arkansas inmate is again asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to stop his execution, arguing that his previous attorney plagiarized a court filing.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to stop Marcel Williams' execution, one of two planned for Monday night. In a late afternoon court filing, Williams asked justices for a stay of execution so he can argue claims that his prior attorneys were ineffectual.

The court filing says that nearly 10 pages of an earlier appeal "was cut and pasted verbatim from a 1961 United States Supreme Court case."

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Jack Jones and Marcel Williams
Arkansas Department of Correction

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected requests for stays of execution from two inmates set to die in the nation's first double execution since 2000.

Jack Jones Jr. and Marcel Williams had asked the state's highest court to stop their executions, which are set for Monday night. Arkansas is trying to use a sedative that expires at the end of the month, and if the men don't receive lethal injections as scheduled their executions will be off indefinitely.

The state has said it has no new source for midazolam.

Jack Jones
Arkansas Department of Correction

A federal appeals court has rejected an Arkansas inmate's request for a stay of execution for the rape and killing of a woman more than two decades ago.

Jack Jones Jr. says his lethal injection could be cruel and unusual because he is diabetic and overweight. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request Monday, hours before his scheduled execution.

Jones was convicted of raping and strangling Mary Phillips at a Bald Knob accounting office on June 6, 1995.

As Arkansas's execution plans, initially scheduling an unprecedented eight lethal injections over an 11 day period drew national and international attention, news staff from KUAR and Arkansas Public Media have been reporting the blow-by-blow developments for NPR programs and news outlets worldwide. Below you can hear or find links to many of those reports. The entire news team has also been regularly filing short newscast reports for NPR News.

On this edition of KUAR's Week-In-Review Podcast we sit down with Bobby Ampezzan and Sarah Whites-Koditschek of Arkansas Public Media to talk about the story that has consumed the state this week: the first execution carried out in 12 years. We discuss the night of the execution, the legal developments leading up to it — including decisions by state and federal courts — and have a look ahead to next week when three more executions are scheduled.

A federal judge says she won't block two inmates from being executed next week in Arkansas, rejecting the men's claims that their poor health could make the lethal injections especially painful.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker denied requests to stop the executions for Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, both of which are scheduled for Monday night.

Williams argues that his obesity and diabetes could make the lethal injections too painful. Jones argues that his diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions could cause him to suffer an "extended and painful death."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
npr.org

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch ruled in his first big case late Thursday night. It allowed Arkansas to move forward with executions after a nearly 12 years lull.

The newest Supreme Court Justice’s vote helped reconstitute the court’s 5-4 conservative majority. Gorsuch joined Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, and Samuel Alito in denying death row inmate Ledell Lee’s appeals. He was executed last night.

Arkansas has carried out its first execution since 2005, just four minutes before the inmate's death warrant was set to expire.

Ledell Lee's execution was scheduled for 7 p.m., but an evening of appeals kept him alive longer. The U.S. Supreme Court nearly halted his execution at one point in the evening but ultimately decided, 5 to 4, that the state could proceed.

"A lethal injection was administered at 11:44 p.m. and the coroner pronounced Ledell Lee dead at 11:56 p.m.," announced Soloman Graves, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Correction.

The scene outside the Arkansas Governor's Mansion before the execution of Ledell Lee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas has executed its first death row inmate in nearly 12 years after clearing numerous legal challenges. While the death penalty is a popular form of punishment in Arkansas, a devoted few dozen protestors have been showing up this week at Governor Asa Hutchinson’s residence. 

Over the course of the day, the vigil for Ledell Lee ebbed and flowed in attendance. There was a constant crowd size of about 50 people.

Many people, including Sandra Cone, stayed for six hours until the state’s last hour execution.

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