LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In a story April 3 about eight Arkansas death row inmates, The Associated Press misspelled the first name of a cheerleader whom Kenneth Williams was convicted of killing. The cheerleader’s name is Dominique Hurd, not Dominque Hurd.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Arkansas moves closer to killing these 8 inmates this month
Arkansas plans to execute eight inmates in a 10-day period this month
By KELLY P. KISSEL
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In two weeks, Arkansas plans to launch the unprecedented execution of eight inmates in a 10-day period. The state adopted the accelerated schedule — double executions on April 17, 20, 24 and 27 — because a key chemical component that it intends to use in the lethal injections expires April 30. A look at the condemned prisoners and their cases:
BRUCE EARL WARD
Ward, 60, has been on death row since 1990 for the death of a clerk found strangled in the men’s room of the Little Rock convenience store where she worked.
Rebecca Lynn Doss was 18. A police officer noticed no one was in the store and pulled up to find Ward walking out of the men’s room. Surveillance video later revealed that Ward asked Doss for help to open the men’s room door.
Ward’s initial death sentence was overturned because a judge let jurors consider documents related to Ward’s 1977 murder conviction in Pennsylvania. A second death sentence was overturned because a court transcript was filled with errors. A third jury imposed a death sentence in 1997.
Ward is scheduled for execution April 17.
DON WILLIAM DAVIS
Davis, 54, was convicted of killing Jane Daniel after breaking into her home in 1990 and shooting her with a .44-caliber revolver he found there.
He came within six hours of execution in 2010, but the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay to address whether legislators improperly left key details to the prison staff. Justices ultimately tossed out the state’s death-row policies, which contributed to the 12 years that passed without an execution.
Davis is scheduled for execution April 17.
STACEY E. JOHNSON
Stacey Johnson, 47, is scheduled to die for the 1993 death of Carol Heath, who was beaten and strangled and had her throat slit. Heath’s daughter Ashley told a parole board in 2015 that she had forgiven Johnson and asked the panel to spare his life, but Heath’s son Jonathan Palmer told the board he completely disagreed.
His initial conviction was overturned when the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that a police officer should not have told jurors that Ashley Heath, then 6 and found incompetent to testify, had picked Johnson out of a photo lineup. She testified at Johnson’s retrial three years later.
DNA evidence included a hair found on Carol Heath’s body. A cigarette butt found in the pocket of a shirt left at a roadside park with Heath’s blood on it also had Johnson’s saliva on it.
Johnson is scheduled for execution April 20.
Lee, 51, was sentenced to die for the 1993 death of Debra Reese, a neighbor who was beaten to death in her home with a tire iron that her husband had given her for protection. He is also serving prison terms for the rapes of a Jacksonville woman and a Jacksonville teenager.
Lee, who struck Reese 36 times, was arrested less than an hour after the slaying after spending some of the $300 he had stolen from her.
He had been released on parole 10 weeks before her death after serving time for burglary and theft. DNA evidence linked Lee to other attacks, including the abduction of Christine Lewis, 22.
Lewis was abducted five days before being found beaten, raped and strangled. A trial in that death ended with a hung jury, and prosecutors dropped the case after the state Supreme Court upheld Lee’s death sentence for Reese’s murder.
Lee is scheduled for execution April 20.
JACK HAROLD JONES JR.
Jones, 52, was convicted of killing bookkeeper Mary Phillips and trying to kill her daughter Lacy during a 1995 robbery at an accounting office. Phillips was found naked from the waist down with a cord from a nearby coffee pot tied around her neck. Lacy was left for dead but awoke while police were taking photographs of her.
Lacy testified that Jones had visited the accounting office twice on the day her mother died and that she got a good look at him. She was able to describe his tattoos.
Jones claimed after his conviction that his lawyers had failed him by not attempting to prove the killing was committed in a cruel or depraved manner. Courts rejected his appeals.
Jones is scheduled for execution April 24.
Williams, 46, was convicted of suffocating a young mother of two after raping her. Stacy Errickson typically carpooled to work in North Little Rock with a friend, but the 22-year-old drove her own truck on Nov. 20, 1994.
Prosecutors say Williams abducted her when she stopped for gas in Jacksonville then drove her to various ATMs and had her take out about $350. Police found the woman’s hosiery and lunch cooler at a storage facility, then found her beaten and bound body in a park two weeks later.
Williams confessed to killing the woman. The jury deliberated about 30 minutes. He is scheduled for execution April 24.
JASON F. MCGEHEE
Co-defendants said McGehee, 40, did most of the beating when 15-year-old Johnny Melbourne Jr. was killed Aug. 19, 1996, for ratting out members of a theft ring.
Several people beat and tortured the teenager at a house in Harrison, then bound him and drove him to an abandoned farmhouse outside Omaha, a town in northern Arkansas. He was later strangled while his hands were tied with an electrical cord.
McGehee asked jurors for mercy, with relatives testifying he had grown up in a dysfunctional family. The jury convicted him in 90 minutes and decided on a death sentence five hours later.
McGehee is scheduled for execution April 27.
Williams, 38, was serving a life sentence for the 1998 death of University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff cheerleader Dominique Hurd when he escaped by hiding in a container of hog slop that was being ferried from the prison kitchen to a prison hog farm outside the main gates.
After getting out, he killed Cecil Boren, who lived near the prison, and stole a truck.
During a chase in southern Missouri the next day, Williams crashed into a water-delivery truck, killing the driver, before police captured him.
Jurors ignored Williams’ plea for mercy after his relatives said that his father drank and beat the children and their mother. While in prison, he said he had killed another person in 1998.
Williams is scheduled for execution April 27.
Follow Kelly P. Kissel on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kisselAP and go to http://bigstory.ap.org/author/kelly-p-kissel to see his work.
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