LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is preparing to execute seven death row inmates this month because it wants to carry out the sentences before its supply of an execution drug expires. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson originally scheduled four double executions for the last two weeks of April. However, a judge last week put one inmate’s execution on hold after the state Parole Board recommended he receive clemency. The judge said the inmate was entitled to a 30-day comment period, which won’t end until after Arkansas’ supply of the sedative midazolam expires at the end of the month.
A look at the seven men who are scheduled to die 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. Ward did not file a clemency petition this year and on Thursday was dropped from the federal lawsuit challenging clemency procedures.
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 halted it 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. He did not file a clemency petition and was not a party to the lawsuit challenging clemency rules.
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 the state 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.
Johnson’s 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. The state Parole Board has said his clemency request is without merit. His request for a stay amid a challenge of the state’s execution procedures was rejected Thursday.
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. The state Parole Board has said his clemency request is without merit. His request for a stay amid a challenge of the state’s execution procedures was rejected Thursday.
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. The state Parole Board has scheduled a hearing for Friday on his clemency request. A federal judge said he will wait until after a decision on Jones’ clemency request before deciding whether to halt the execution.
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. The state Parole Board has said his clemency request is without merit. His request for a stay amid a challenge of the state’s execution procedures was rejected Thursday.
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. The state Parole Board has said his clemency request is without merit. His request for a stay amid a challenge of the state’s execution procedures was rejected Thursday.
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.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Half of Arizonans in poll side against Trump pardoning Arpaio in Phoenix
- Nations search for 10 missing sailors after USS John S. McCain collision
- White House chief strategist Steve Bannon steps down
- Family: California man celebrating marriage killed in Spain
- Trump tweet attacks Flake, calls Arizona senator ‘toxic’