Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson plans to execute 7 men on death row in about 11 days starting April 17 before one of the three lethal injection drugs expire. The state’s supply of midaolam is set to expire at the end of April.
Midaolam is a controversial sedative that is one of three drugs used in lethal injections. State officials do not know when they will be able to obtain a new supply of this drug.
For that reason, Bruce Ward, Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams, Stacey Johnson, Ledell Lee, Don Davis, and Jack Jones are set to be put to death.
Don Davis and Bruce Ward are scheduled to be put to death on April 17, Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee three days later, followed by Marcel Williams and Jack Jones on April 24, and Kenneth Williams on April 27.
The men make up 20 percent of Arkansas’ entire death row population.
According the Governor, this decision was made to “fulfill the requirement of the law” and to “bring closure to the victims’ families who have lived with the court appeals and uncertainty for a very long time.”
Two pharmaceutical companies have asked a federal judge to prevent the state from using its drugs in the planned executions.
Governor Hutchinson said: “It is necessary to schedule the executions prior to the expiration of that drug. It is uncertain as to whether another drug can be obtained, and the families of the victims do not need to live with continued uncertainty after decades of review.”
Texas is the only state that has executed 8 men in one month. Also, no state has successfully executed two prisoners on the same day using midazolam.
The state of Arkansas has not had an execution in 12 years.
April 2014 was the last time a state tried to perform a double execution on the same day, it ended in disaster, when Oklahoma botched the execution of Clayton Locket. It took more than 40 minutes for him to die.