Arkansas Executions 2017

Lawyers for Arkansas inmates condemned to die Thursday in a planned double execution are claiming they are innocent and one of them says advanced DNA techniques could show he didn't kill a woman in 1993.

Their strategy to win stays is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber and were spared Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues.

A medical supply company is suing again to try and prevent Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug in the upcoming executions of two convicted killers, saying it was sold to be used for medical purposes.

McKesson Corp. asked a Pulaski County judge Tuesday to order Arkansas officials to return its supply of vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs used in the state's lethal injection protocol. The company has said prison officials misleadingly obtained the drug.

Night Of The Stay

Apr 18, 2017

I've always wanted to be picked. Who doesn't? Little League, passing out papers, taste tester of Meemaw's pasta sauce. So when it came to filling the last of three media witness slots at the Arkansas Department of Correction's first execution in 12 years, I threw my name in the hat. 'Maybe I get picked,' I thought, with some small amount of delight not unlike making your Mega Millions pick.

Varner Arkansas Department of Correction Cummins Prison
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

While legal challenges kept two lethal injections from being carried out as scheduled Monday night, Arkansas officials are vowing to execute five other convicted killers before the end of the month. The state hasn’t executed an inmate in 12 years and there were hopes that Monday would see the resumption of capital punishment before the state’s supply of one lethal injection drug expires next month.

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The Arkansas Supreme Court has lifted an order that effectively blocked the state's plan to execute eight men by the end of the month, but a stay remains in place for two inmates facing executions Monday night.

Justices on Monday granted the state's motion to lift a Pulaski County judge's order prohibiting the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs used in the lethal injection protocol. A medical supply company said it was misled by the state and that the drug was sold to be used for medical purposes, not executions.

Central Arkansas Congressman appeared before constituents in a town hall format for the first time of the Trump era on Monday. Hill faced a raucous, but politically split crowd. He was joined by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton.

The Republican senator said he talked with Governor Asa Hutchinson that morning about executions originally slated to begin Monday evening.

“I told him that I 100 percent support his decision to execute the verdict that was rendered by a jury of his peers,” said Cotton to a mix of jeers and cheers.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed several executions scheduled over the next ten days in Arkansas to proceed. The order by the three judge panel* lifts the stay by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker that was issued over the weekend.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Supreme Court is barring a judge who blocked the state's multiple executions plan from taking up any death penalty related cases after he participated in a protest where he appeared to mimic an inmate about to receive lethal injection drugs.

Justices on Monday reassigned the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen. The judge last week prohibited the state from using a lethal injection drug a supplier said was misleadingly obtained. Griffen participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration after issuing the ruling Friday.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has reissued its order that halted the execution of one of the first inmates facing lethal injection under the state's multiple execution plan.

The reissued order Monday clarifies that three of the four justices would have denied the request for a stay for Bruce Earl Ward. The court has not ruled on the state's request to reconsider that stay.

Ward was convicted of killing a convenience store clerk. He had been scheduled to die Monday night under the state's plan to put eight inmates to death before the end of the month.

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