Christian campaigners horrified by Arkansas execution

Fight Continues Over Arkansas Executions

Fight Continues Over Arkansas Executions

The state of Arkansas carried out its first execution in 12 years on Thursday just before midnight, after a series of rejected appeals that reached all the way up to the Supreme Court cleared the way for 51-year-old Ledell Lee to be put to death by lethal injection.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Wednesday's state Supreme Court stay of Johnson's execution. The state had planned to execute eight inmates over 11 days starting April 17, saying its lethal-injection drugs will expire at the end of the month.

Initially, Arkansas had meant to put Lee and seven other men to death in the span of just 11 days, racing against the clock of the expiration of one of the drugs in the state's chemical execution cocktail.

Lee did not appear to be in pain as he was executed, according to the Times, and was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m.

Lee was put on death row for the 1993 murder of his neighbour Debra Reese, whom he struck 36 times with a tyre tool her husband had given her for protection.

Multiple suits made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court late last night, giving Justice Neil Gorsuch one of his first big rulings.

Also on Wednesday, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued an order staying a fourth execution scheduled to occur a little more than 24 hours later. Zivot said the regular use of those two drugs would decrease Jones' sensitivity to midazolam.

Since the Supreme Court ruled to reinstate the death penalty in 1973, the 31 U.S. states that have the death penalty have carried out 1,448 executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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The third is an external probe into the football program, which is being conducted by attorneys with Jones Day law firm. That player was immediately suspended on Sunday from all team activities as soon as we were notified of the situation.

Lee and Stacey E. Johnson both were originally scheduled for execution Thursday. The Supreme Court denied requests from Lee and several other death-row inmates and Lee's execution was allowed to proceed. The nation's top court as well as a United States district court issued temporary execution stays as they analyzed the case - but ultimately all were lifted. But just as two executions Monday were blocked over mental health and legal representation issues, Thursday's were threatened by innocence claims mounted by defense lawyers seeking new hearings for DNA testing.

"We are working to ensure that those sentences are carried out and that justice is served", Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said.

The only other USA prisoner set to die this month won a commutation Thursday from Virginia's Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe. Four other planned executions have been held up in courts, including one through a court decision to allow modern DNA analysis in a murder and rape case.

But, as Slate reported, Justice Gorsuch's first recorded vote cast as a member of the Supreme Court was in favor of Lee's execution. The state is racing to carry out the executions before its supply of midazolam expires at the end of the month.

Arkansas, which hadn't executed anyone since 2005, is among states that have had difficulty acquiring the drugs it needs for lethal injections, largely because of restrictions imposed by pharmaceutical companies.

Arkansas has overcome a flurry of court challenges which derailed three other executions and put to death an inmate for the first time in almost 12 years.

"ADC (the Arkansas Department of Correction) personnel used an existing medical license, which is to be used only to order products with legitimate medical uses, and an irregular ordering process to obtain the vecuronium via phone order with a McKesson salesperson", the brief said.

Courts have upheld Arkansas' secrecy law and similar laws in a handful of other states.

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