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Arkansas Supreme Court grants emergency stay for 1 of 7 inmates scheduled to die

By Eric Besson

This article was originally published April 14, 2017 at 5:31 p.m. Updated April 14, 2017 at 5:53 p.m.

Bruce Ward

Rally against death penalty at Arkansas Capitol

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Photos by Stephen B. Thornton and Emma Pettit


The Arkansas Supreme Court on Friday granted an emergency stay in the scheduled execution of Bruce Earl Ward, the first of seven inmates scheduled to die over an 11-day period beginning Monday.

Ward's attorneys petitioned the state's highest court to grant the temporary stoppage on Thursday so that they can present arguments that Ward is incompetent to be executed. His execution was scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday.

Ward, 60, has been on death row since 1990 for strangling 18-year-old Rebecca Lynn Doss in the bathroom of a convenience store in Little Rock.

In a statement, a spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Rutledge was "evaluating options on how to proceed" in Ward's case.

"Bruce Ward was convicted of capital murder in 1990 and the State Supreme Court has previously upheld his conviction," the statement said. "The Court granted a stay of Ward's scheduled execution today but offered no reason for doing so."

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates on this developing story and read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 total comments

Redheadgirl says... April 14, 2017 at 6:01 p.m.

incompetent to be executed? That a big joke. Was he incompetent when he murdered someone? No he should gets what the jury said and be done with it. These people saying this is wrong to give someone the death penalty has not had a family member murdered in cold blood before.

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FLICK says... April 14, 2017 at 6:20 p.m.

Could not have said it better @Redheadgirl
This 'lawyer' continues to prolong the nonsense THESE CRIMINALS HAVE CAUSED!

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NoCrossNoCrown says... April 14, 2017 at 6:54 p.m.

I guess the SCOA is not as blood thirsty as Gov. Assa

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Gallatin says... April 14, 2017 at 7:05 p.m.

Approximately 2000 years ago a man who had done no wrong ever was sentenced to be executed in the most horrible way ever imagined by human beings. Christians celebrate that event today by remembering His sacrifice for our sins. On one occasion He confronted an angry mob that was about to stone to death a woman caught in the act of adultery. He said to the angry mob, "Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone." Just sayin', people . . .

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MadyJ says... April 15, 2017 at 1:06 a.m.

Wonder whose bright idea it was to start the death celebration of 7 right after Easter?

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Maracat42 says... April 15, 2017 at 5:13 a.m.

Those of us who don't believe that capital punishment is right or moral -- like members of my religion -- have already been disallowed from juries just because we don't believe in the death penalty. Why should a judge who doesn't believe in state-sponsored murder have to recuse himself from deciding an appeal?

And if your ver put your dog to sleep with Midazolam and curare, and you'd actually hung around, you'd know it wasn't close to humane.

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PopulistMom says... April 15, 2017 at 7:19 a.m.

Not only had this POS murdered this 18 year old; he previously had killed a 20 year old. Put him down.

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