Arkansas has announced that they will put 8 men to death in a 10-day period, which is unprecedented, and of course creating a moral outcry from the left.
“The Associated Press speculates that they were scheduled for such a short window because the state’s supply of one of the lethal injection drugs, Midazolam, expires at the end of April. Arkansas has already run out of potassium chloride, which causes cardiac arrest upon injection, and has yet to acquire a new supply. Hutchinson has expressed confidence that a new supplier for the substance will be found in time,” reports Reason.com.
Arkansas state governor Asa Hutchinson had to sign declarations to bring the death penalty back, since it has not been used in Arkansas since 2005.
“This action is necessary to fulfill the requirement of the law, but it is also important to bring closure to the victims’ families who have lived with the court appeals and uncertainty for a very long time,” said Hutchinson in a statement to the Associated Press.
Business Insider reports:
Arkansas plans to rush the execution of 8 men over the course of 10 days in advance of the expiration of state supplies of a lethal injection drug.
Earlier this week, Arkansas state governor Asa Hutchinson signed declarations to bring back capital punishment to the state for the first time since 2005 and execute 8 inmates between April 17 to April 27.
A staunch Republican, Hutchinson has spent years doggedly fighting against the legal difficulties that prevented capital punishment in the state.
“This action is necessary to fulfill the requirement of the law, but it is also important to bring closure to the victims’ families who have lived with the court appeals and uncertainty for a very long time,” said Hutchinson in a statement to the Associated Press. If Arkansas does nothing to stop the declaration, the men will be executed in pairs on 4 days during the 10-day period.
Like several other states, Arkansas uses a combination of potassium chloride, midazolam, and vecuronium bromide to carry out the executions. Solomon Graves, a spokesperson for the Department of Corrections, told CNN that the state’s supply of potassium chloride expired recently (although Hutchinson’s spokesperson said the state would have no difficulty acquiring more) while the supply of Midazolam is set to expire in April.
The rushed execution plan has drawn outrage from both activists and religious groups.
“This expiration date is directly linked to the state’s urgency to execute eight men in ten days,” said the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in a statement.
“The setting of four executions within 10 days is gruesome and brutal,” Catholic Sister Joan Pytlik told the Arkansas Catholic.
The men, all sentenced to death for capital murder between 1991 and 2000, are Bruce Earl Ward, Don William Davis, Ledelle Lee, Stacey Eugene Johnson, Jack Harold Jones, Marcel W. Williams, Kenneth D. Williams, James F. McGehee.
This is the first time any state in the US executes so many men in such a short time period since 1977, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
“No state has ever conducted eight executions over a 10-day period,” he said.