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LATEST: April 25-26 coverage

APRIL 24-26


5:29 p.m. Wednesday » Ambassador to EU asks Gov. Asa Hutchinson to halt execution



The ambassador to the European Union sent Gov. Asa Hutchinson a letter Wednesday asking that he commute the sentence of death-row prisoner Kenneth Williams, before his scheduled execution Thursday.

📄 Click here to read the letter

It is the second letter the ambassador, David O'Sullivan, has sent in opposition to Arkansas' plan to conduct a series of April executions. A spokesman for the governor confirmed his office received the correspondence.

Hutchinson originally scheduled eight executions to be carried out over 11 days. Courts have halted four of the executions, while the state has carried out three.

The European Union considers the death penalty a violation of human rights, and all of its member nations have abolished the punishment.

Last July, Hutchinson opened an international office for the state in Berlin in hopes of fostering Arkansas' commercial ties with the continent.

His spokesman, J.R. Davis, declined to comment on the letters.

John Moritz


3:18 p.m. Wednesday » Death-row inmate moved to Cummins Unit ahead of scheduled execution



Arkansas Department of Correction records show that inmate Kenneth Williams has been moved to the Cummins Unit ahead of his scheduled execution.

Williams is scheduled to die Thursday at the prison’s execution chamber. Barring any last-minute legal challenges or complications, his death will be the fourth carried out by the state in April.

The prisoner was convicted in the October 1999 fatal shooting of farmer Cecil Boren, 57, who had stayed home to do yard work while his wife was at church in Lincoln County.

Brandon Riddle


2:18 p.m. Wednesday » Arkansas Supreme Court denies all stays for inmate set to be executed Thursday




The Arkansas Supreme Court has denied all stays for an inmate scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement Wednesday afternoon on social media that Kenneth Williams’ requests for an injunction were rejected.

Williams is the fourth and final inmate set to die before the end of the month. Three other prisoners have been executed over the past two weeks: Ledell Lee, Jack Jones and Marcel Williams.

The state initially set the executions of eight death row inmates, though four were spared.

Brandon Riddle


2 p.m. Wednesday » Court transcripts show judge found no evidence that execution was torture




A court transcript shows a federal judge ruled that witnesses describing a condemned killer opening and closing his mouth during his lethal injection wasn't enough evidence to find that his execution amounted to inhumane torture.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker allowed Monday night's execution of Marcel Williams to proceed after hearing from four witnesses who described seeing Jack Jones' mouth move during his execution earlier that night. The transcript of the hearing was released Tuesday.

Baker heard testimony from attorneys for the inmates, Jones' spiritual adviser and an official with the attorney general's office.

Baker had temporarily halted Jones' execution after Williams' attorneys said Jones could be seen gulping for air five minutes into his execution.

The Associated Press


6 a.m. Wednesday » Full coverage in today's Democrat-Gazette




  • Arkansas execution rules block out parts; getting full picture difficult, lawyers, other witnesses say


  • Lawyers seek stay of execution set for Arkansas death-row prisoner Thursday



  • 5:20 p.m. Tuesday » Documents detailing timelines, witnesses of 2 inmates' executions released





    The Arkansas Department of Correction on Tuesday released documents detailing the hours and minutes leading up to the first double execution in the U.S. since 2000.

    Those logs explained the last activities of inmates Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, including their last meals and arrival in the execution chamber.

    📄 Click here to read Williams' log

    📄 Click here to read Jones' log

    The documents also provide a timeline of the execution process — from the time the prisoners were escorted inside to the point they were pronounced dead.

    The records show that prison officials spent 40 minutes placing IV lines in Williams, whose attorneys had argued that his weight could complicate his lethal injection.

    The internal affairs log says Williams, who weighed 400 pounds, was restrained in the death chamber at 9:30 p.m. Monday, moments after a federal judge lifting a temporary stay that had blocked his execution.

    The log says officials began the process of inserting IV lines at 9:35 p.m. and it wasn't complete until 10:15 p.m. Witnesses were not allowed to view this part of the process.

    Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m.

    Also released Tuesday were witness lists for the executions of Jones and Williams as well as orders of discharge for the inmates.

    📄 Click here to read Williams' witness list

    📄 Click here to read Jones' witness list

    Brandon Riddle and The Associated Press contributed to this report


    4:07 p.m. Tuesday » Arkansas attorney general won't appeal stay of execution for 1 inmate originally set for lethal injection Thursday





    Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will not appeal a stay imposed on one of two inmates originally scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday, according to her spokesman.

    Death-row prisoner Jason McGehee was one of eight men whose executions were set for this month, but his name was removed from the list after a federal judge granted an injunction on his death.

    On April 6, U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. ruled that McGehee was entitled to a 30-day review period as written into state law after the Arkansas Parole Board, in a 6-1 vote, said a plea for clemency for McGehee had merit earlier this month. Specific reasoning was not cited in the board’s decision.

    Rutledge’s spokesman Judd Deere said Tuesday that the attorney general does not plan to appeal that stay as the execution date draws near.

    McGehee was convicted in the September 1996 kidnapping, beating and killing of 15-year-old John Melbourne Jr. in Boone County.

    Officials are still moving forward with the execution of another inmate, Kenneth Williams, who is set to die Thursday night. Williams’ death is the last scheduled by the state in April.

    Over the past two weeks, the state has executed three inmates: Ledell Lee, Jack Jones and Marcel Williams. The deaths of four others were halted.

    Brandon Riddle


    11:57 a.m. Tuesday » Spokesman says inmate apologized to prisons director shortly after lethal injection began





    An Arkansas prisons spokesman says the first inmate executed Monday night was speaking to the

    Arkansas Department of Correction director shortly after his lethal injection began.

    Spokesman Solomon Graves said Jack Jones was talking to prisons director Wendy Kelley at the start of his execution, which lasted 14 minutes. Shortly after Jones' execution ended, attorneys for another inmate set to die Monday argued in a court filing that "Jones was moving his lips and gulping for air."

    But Graves said it was his understanding that Jones "was apologizing to Director Kelley and thanking her for the way she has treated him since she's been director." The microphone was turned off in the death chamber at this point so any comments were not audible to media witnesses.

    The Associated Press


    6 a.m. Tuesday » Full coverage in today's Democrat-Gazette




  • 2 killers executed hours apart


  • Jurors were never told of Williams' life


  • Jack Jones ready for his execution


  • Click here for updates from Monday, April 24



  • EXECUTIONS: In-depth look at 7 men whose deaths Arkansas scheduled

  • Wednesday, April 19 updates

  • Thursday, April 20 updates

  • April 21-23 updates

  • Monday, April 24 updates


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    Arkansas executions

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