death penalty

Leslie Rutledge
Governor's Office / You Tube

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she will likely ask the governor to set an execution date for a convicted killer after a ruling by the state Supreme Court.

On Thursday the high court said two inmates – who came within hours of being executed last year – were not entitled to special assistance from mental health professionals during their trials.

Bruce Ward and Don Davis won last minute stays after claiming independent psychiatrists should have been available to help develop trial strategies.

One of the three drugs Arkansas uses in its death chamber is about to expire, and unless the state can find a new supply it won't be able to execute three men with 11th-hour appeals pending at the state Supreme Court.

Arkansas rushed to execute eight men over 11 days last year, before 160 vials of a sedative expired. Ultimately, Arkansas put four men to death over eight days last April.

The state's supply of vecuronium bromide expires Thursday. It stops the inmates' breathing while a third drug used stops their hearts.

Office of the Governor

35 men on Arkansas’s death row are now closer than anyone in the state has been in years to receiving a lethal injection. Governor Asa Hutchinson told reporters on Thursday he could soon begin scheduling execution dates. 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says the state is reviewing drug options for lethal injections following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Monday morning.

The court ruled 5-4 to allow Oklahoma to continue to use Midazolam, a sedative that inmates had argued may not prevent pain in lethal injections because it is not a barbiturate.

Hutchinson spoke to press at the Capitol shortly after the ruling.