Arkansas High Court Issues Stay For 1 Inmate Scheduled To Die Thursday

Danny Woods
April 20, 2017

Yet the state took great pains to not identify any "manufacturer, supplier or distributor" involved in the executions, Jorgensen said.

(Sherry Simon via AP). On Tuesday, a state judge denied a motion from Lee's lawyers for DNA testing.

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates on this developing story and read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details. People gather at a rally opposing the state's upcoming executions, on the front steps of Arkansas' Capitol, Friday, April 14, 2017, in Little Rock, Ark.

Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy and Kelly P. Kissel at www.twitter.com/kisselAP.

In another case, Baker canceled an April 18 hearing in which the lawyers for Marcel Williams, who is scheduled to be executed April 24, meant to argue that because of his obesity, Arkansas' lethal injection protocol is not likely to kill him and could cause organ damage.

Lee was convicted in the 1993 killing of his neighbor Debra Reese. "Lee and identify the real perpetrator of the crime".

After the executions were halted, Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock said, "I would like to thank everyone who has prayed and worked so hard to prevent these scheduled executions from taking place".

The stay for Johnson stemmed from a bid to have an evidentiary hearing related to his request for DNA testing to prove his innocence.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two Arkansas inmates set to die this week in a double execution filed more legal challenges Wednesday, but so far the pair is hitting roadblocks as a judge weighs a new attempt to prevent the state from using one of its lethal injection drugs in what would be the state's first executions in almost a dozen years. Meaning if current appeals and court proceedings s are pushed into May, Arkansas won't be able to carry out the executions with the drugs it has on hand. An appeal of Johnson's stay of execution was undecided, Deere said.

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A spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said the state is reviewing its options regarding Johnson's case. The company is demanding that the drug either be returned or impounded.

Gray sided with McKesson Corp., which had argued that it sold Arkansas the drug for medical use, not executions, and that it would suffer harm financially and to its reputation if the executions were carried out.

In decades past, conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court have been the prime defenders and enablers of capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1976.

The state supreme court also halted the execution of one of the inmates, Bruce Ward.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson characterized the attorneys' arguments as a last-ditch attempt to spare the inmates' lives.

Another inmate, Ledell Lee, was scheduled for execution Thursday night and has a similar request pending for more DNA testing, though a Pulaski County judge ruled against him Tuesday. He is also serving prison time for the rapes of a woman and teen from Jacksonville. Last month, the eight prisoners filed a lawsuit in which they called the state's rush to kill them "reckless and unconstitutional". Earlier Tuesday, the judge ordered that Lee receive a psychological evaluation Wednesday. (And if you haven't seen them, you simply must watch the documentaries: 1996's "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills", 2000's "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations", 2011's "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" and 2012's "West of Memphis.") One of the three teenagers wrongfully convicted in 1994 of a 1993 triple murder, Damien Echols, returned Friday to Arkansas along with actor Johnny Depp to protest the state's plan. This has created a shortage that has led USA prisons to turn to risky experimentation, as was in the case in 2014, when Dennis McGuire, an OH inmate on death row, was injected with a never-before-used drug cocktail.

However, Baker's decision was appealed by the state and was overturned Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. It capped a chaotic day of legal wrangling to clear the obstacles Arkansas faced to carrying out its first executions since 2005. The state can ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its decision or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Monday opted not to vacate a separate stay involving inmate Davis.

Rosenzweig also represents two other inmates scheduled to die this month — Jack Jones and Kenneth Williams.

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