PRESS TV Posted Mon., April 24, 2017
The US state of Arkansas is scheduled to put two inmates to death on Monday evening, the first double execution in the United States in 17 years.
Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, both murder convicts, are set to be killed in what would be the second and third executions in Arkansas this month.
Both inmates are fearful that their poor health conditions could result in extreme pain when they receive lethal injections.
A federal judge on Friday rejected the inmates’ request to stop the executions over their health concerns.
Arkansas is rushing with several planned executions as its supply of a sedative, as part of the three-drug lethal injection process, is approaching its expiration date.
The drug in question, midazolam, was employed in botched executions in Oklahoma and Arizona, where witnesses said the inmates suffered excruciating pain on the gurney.
Jones, sentenced in 1996 for rape and murder, is scheduled to be put to death at 7 pm at the Cummins Unit prison.
The state is also scheduled to execute Williams, who was sentenced to death in 1997 for kidnapping, rape and murder, at 8:15 pm.
A flurry of eleventh-hour legal appeals at both the state and federal level for a stay of the executions are expected to fail, as they did last week when the US Supreme Court cleared the way for Arkansas to carry out its first execution in 12 years.
Ledell Lee was put to death at 11:56 pm Thursday, four minutes before his death warrant was due to expire.
The unprecedented schedule for executions have drawn sharp condemnations from rights groups and unleashed a wave of legal challenges, including a lawsuit from the company that makes one of the drugs.
McKesson Corp. said in a statement last week that the state had obtained the drug, called vecuronium bromide, under false pretenses and that it wanted nothing to do with executions.
“We believe we have done all we can do at this time to recover our product,” the company said.
The state Supreme Court ruled that authorities could use vecuronium bromide in Lee’s execution, allowing his death sentence to be carried out.
Texas was the last state to execute more than one inmate on the same day in August 2000.