Arkansas carries out first double execution in US since 2000

Lawyers for Jack Jones and Marcel Williams are seeking stays of execution on grounds of poor health.

These two file pictures obtained from the Arkansas Department of Corrections and created on March 17, 2017 shows death row inmates Jack Harold Jones (L) and Marcel W Williams (R) who the southern state of Arkansas executed late Monday, April 24, 2017.

Williams was sentenced to death in 1997 for kidnapping, raping and murdering Stacy Errickson. But death penalty appeals nearly always are referred to the entire court. Williams was executed about three hours later for the 1994 murder of a young mother. It was the first back-to-back execution in the United States in more than 16 years. Infirmary workers had spent more than 45 minutes unsuccessfully trying to put a central line into his neck.

Jones' execution commenced at 7:06 p.m. CDT and he was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m. CDT. Though Judge Kristine G. Baker did issue a temporary stay, she ultimately directed Williams' claim. He was escorted out, then was brought back in about an hour later when the judge lifted her stay. U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. earlier this month put the execution on hold after the state Parole Board recommended that Gov. Asa Hutchinson grant him clemency.

The last time two executions were carried out in one night occurred in Texas in August 2000.

Asa Hutchison chose to schedule the execution of eight prisoners before its batch of midazolam, a drug used to render a person unconscious during the execution, expires at the end of April. Both Johnson and Lee maintained their innocence and a lack of DNA evidence, has created controversy surrounding Lee's execution last week.

Attorneys for Jones say he could suffer from a "torturous death" because he may be resistant to midazolam.

Shortly before the lethal injections were administered, Jones read out a lengthy statement in which he said: "I'm so sorry Lacey".

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Williams refused to give a final statement.

KAUFFMAN: Jones was convicted in the 1995 rape and murder of Mary Phillips.

She was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while her daughter Lacey was tied to a chair. But eye witness accounts described Jones's lips moving after he finished his last words but said there were no signs of distress, according to Reuters.

She was not present for the execution.

Both men were served last meals on Monday afternoon, Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said. Williams requested three piece of fried chicken, potato logs with ketchup, nachos with chili cheese and jalapenos, and two Mountain Dews.

Kenneth Williams is scheduled to be executed at 7:00 p.m. for the 1999 murder of 57-year-old Cecil Boren.

Williams argued that he would likely experience severe pain during the execution because of his medical conditions, and that the lethal injection amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

"If there was an "avalanche" of litigation, as the state complains, that's because the state created an avalanche of execution dates", Julie Vandiver wrote. Oklahoma had planned a double execution in 2014, but did not carry out the second one as the first execution went awry. The only quicker pace included quadruple executions in 1926 and 1930. The reporter also said Jones apologized before he died to the daughter of the woman he killed.

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