Arkansas carries out first double execution in USA since 2000

Henrietta Brewer
May 2, 2017

After Arkansas conducted the first back-to-back executions in the United States since 2000, witnesses described what they saw when Jack Harold Jones Jr. and Marcel Wayne Williams died of lethal injection.

But Monday night's double execution - the first in the United States since August 2000 - has aroused little visible emotion in USA political circles, and even less in the broader public. He was pronounced dead 17-minutes after the procedure began at the Cummins unit in Grady.

In an emergency filing, Williams' lawyers argued that he could face a "torturous" death because of his size. The IV lines are placed before witnesses are allowed access to the death chamber. His chest stopped moving two minutes after they checked for consciousness, and he was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m.

Williams' execution was scheduled for 8:15 p.m., but was postponed after District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary Stay of Execution.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had scheduled four double executions to take place this month, but courts ordered delays for four of those scheduled to die.

Arkansas initially planned to execute eight inmates over 11 days before a drug used in executions could expire. However, four executions were blocked.

THE first double execution to be carried out in the U.S. in 16 years has been completed, but not without complication.


Jones argued his health conditions could lead to a painful death.

"I hope over time you could learn who I really am and I am not a monster", he said, according to reporter witnesses. Williams' attorneys argued his weight could complicate his lethal injection. He was also convicted of attempted murder of Phillips' 11-year-old daughter and in another rape and murder in Florida. She was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while daughter Lacey was tied to a chair.

Attorney General Leslie Routledge said she hoped his execution would bring much-needed peace to Errickson's children, now adults. Justice Sonya Sotomayor was the only member of the court to dissent.

Both inmates were served similar last meals. Williams had fried chicken, banana pudding, nachos, two sodas and potato logs with ketchup, Graves added.

Williams' lawyers say he weighs 400 pounds and it will be hard to find a vein for lethal injunction, so the drugs are unlikely to work as intended.

Both men were convicted two decades ago, and admitted to their crimes.

Six to seven minutes after the injection of the first product supposed to plunge the prisoner into a deep unconsciousness, the prisoner "stirred his lips and struggled to breathe", they wrote in their appeal.


Twenty were executed previous year, down from 98 in 1999 and the lowest number since 14 in 1991. Some states have used it in smaller doses to calm inmates before an execution under the brand name Versed. The number of executions has fallen every year since 2009, (except 2012, when it stayed the same). The only quicker pace included quadruple executions in 1926 and 1930.

Two days after Errickson's murder, Williams kidnapped and raped two other women within 12 hours.

I wish I could take it back, but I can't, Williams told the board.

Williams' trial lawyers failed to investigate and present to the jury details of his "nightmarish" childhood and made many other "numerous" mistakes during his capital murder trial, according to Laura Burstein, communications consultant with the Squire Patton Boggs law firm based in Cleveland.

A state prison spokesman said Jones was speaking to state Correction Department Director Wendy Kelley when his lips moved, but did not know if a transcript was available.

The letter, which his attorney read aloud at his clemency hearing, went on to say: "I shall not ask to be forgiven, for I haven't the right".


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