Saturday, March 04, 2017


Arkansas plans execution spree with eight criminals set to be put to be death within ten days next month

Associated Press and Chris Summers

Daily Mail
March 3, 2017

Arkansas is set to go on a killing spree in April after the state's Supreme Court cleared the way for eight Death Row inmates to be executed in the space of 10 days.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said: 'It is past time for the victims' families to see justice for the horrible murders of their loved ones.'

Arkansas has not executed an inmate since 2005 due to legal challenges and difficulties obtaining execution drugs.

But in 2015 Arkansans elected a Republican Governor, Asa Hutchinson, and a GOP Attorney General to replace Democrats and both have put the death penalty high on their agenda.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled yesterday there were no stays in place preventing the men from being put to death.

Those facing execution are Don Davis, 54, Bruce Ward, 70, Ledelle Lee, 51, Stacey Johnson, 48, Jack Jones, 52, Marcel Williams, 46, Kenneth Williams, 35, and Jason McGehee, 40.

Davis and Ward are due to be executed on April 17, Lee and Johnson on April 20, Jones and Marcel Williams, 45, on April 24 and the remaining two on April 27.

Ward, who strangled 18-year-old Little Rock convenience store clerk Rebecca Doss, has been on Death Row since 1990 but Roger Coulter, the only inmate in the state to have spent longer under threat of death, is not scheduled for execution.

In a 5-2 order, justices granted the attorney general's request to clarify that there is no stay in place for the eight inmates.

The court last week lifted the stay on its ruling upholding Arkansas' lethal injection law, prompting the state to move forward with the executions.

Attorneys for the inmates asked the court to invalidate the governor's proclamations scheduling the executions, arguing there was still a stay in place since they had filed an amended complaint in lower court.

The Governor, Asa Hutchinson, said: 'My office is prepared to respond to any and all challenges that might occur between now and the execution dates.

'I will do all I can to finally bring closure to the victims' families and to honor the verdicts and sentences imposed by juries decades ago.'

The court lifted its stay days after the US Supreme Court said it wouldn't review the state court ruling over Arkansas' lethal injection law.

The state, however, lacks one of the drugs needed to put the men to death.

The state's supply of potassium chloride - one of three drugs used in its lethal injection protocol - expired in January, and a prison spokesman said the state has not found a replacement.

Mr Hutchinson has said he is confident the state will find a new supply.

Attorneys for the inmates have asked a Pulaski County circuit judge to find the state's lethal injection law, which keeps the names of its drug suppliers secret, and the three-drug protocol unconstitutional.

Attorneys John C Williams and Jeff Rosenzweig said: 'The order dissolves the stay but does not end the case and the Arkansas Supreme Court has never rejected our evidence that the state's chosen execution protocol causes atrocious suffering.

'We will continue to fight for our clients and to contest this appalling execution schedule.'

The execution schedule appears aimed at putting the inmates to death before another one of the state's lethal injection drugs expires.

The state's supply of midazolam lists an April 2017 expiration date, which pharmacy experts say is commonly accepted to mean the end of the month.

The state's supply of vecuronium bromide expires on March 1, 2018.


Don Davis, 54, was sentenced to death for shooting Jane Daniel dead while burglarizing her home in Rogers. Davis broke into the house and used a stolen .44 caliber Magnum revolver to shoot her once in the head in a basement storeroom in the house. Mrs Daniel's husband Richard found her body when he returned from a business trip. Due to be executed on April 17.

Bruce Ward, 70, a motorbike-riding perfume salesman, who was convicted of strangling to death 18-year-old Rebecca Doss at a convenience store in Little Rock in 1989. Due to be executed on April 17.

Ledelle Lee, 51, was sentenced to death in 1995 for beating and strangling to death of Debra Reese, 26, in Sunnyside. He was also convicted of raping two Jacksonville women and was tried an acquitted of the murder of Christine Lewis, daughter of Alderman Robert Lewis. Due to be executed on April 20.

Stacey Johnson, 48, was sentenced to death for stabbing to death Sergeant Scott Grimes, 41, at the Department of Corrections' Tucker Unit in November 1995, where he was serving a life sentence for killing businessman Charles R. Colclasure, 47. Due to be executed on April 20.

Jack Jones, 52, was convicted of raping and murdering a bookkeeper, Mary Phillips, 34, and beating her 11-year-old daughter in June 1995. Mrs Phillips and her daughter, Lacy, were at an accounting office in Bald Knob when Jones tried to rob it. Lacy lost consciousness and was left for dead. When she awoke, police were taking photographs of her. Mary Phillips was found nude from the waist down with a cord from a nearby coffee pot wrapped around her neck. Due to be executed on April 24.

Marcel Williams, 46, held up Stacy Errickson, 22, at a gas station in November 1994. She was then forced to drive to several automated teller machines and forced to withdraw a total of $350. The mother-of-two was raped and then shot. Due to be executed on April 24.

Kenneth Williams, 35, was jailed for life without parole for murdering University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff cheerleader Dominique Hurd. In October 1999 he broke out of the Cummins Unit at Varner and killed 57-year-old Cecil Boren before being recaptured. Williams later sent a 512-page letter to a local newspaper, claiming he shot and killed Jerrell Jenkins, 36, of Pine Bluff in 1998. Due to be executed on April 27.

Jason McGehee, 40, was convicted of the 1996 kidnapping and murdering John Melbourne Jr, 15. McGehee, then 21, was the leader of a group of six friends who lived in Harrison and survived by cashing stolen and forged checks. Melbourne was a member of gang but was killed when they suspected he had snitched on them. McGehee and two others took turns strangling him until he died. Due to be executed on April 27.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m not holding my breath to see all eight gone next months. Last minute appeals to SCOTUS are sure to be filed and may get a stay for some. Then there is the potassium chloride problem.

I don’t know why Arkansas still wants to use a three-drug cocktail in carrying out its executions when one dose of pentobarbital will do the job without any problems. But then Arkansas has always been thought of as a backward state.

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