LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on Arkansas’ plan to execute several inmates before the end of April (all times local):
A senior European Union official is urging Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to cancel Thursday’s planned execution of inmate Kenneth Williams.
The letter from EU Ambassador to the U.S. David O’Sullivan was delivered Wednesday to the governor’s office. It says Williams’ attorneys should have the chance to prove whether he was intellectually disabled and thus, ineligible for the death penalty.
The EU opposes capital punishment, and many European drugmakers have blocked states from using their products in lethal injections.
Williams would be the fourth inmate put to death in eight days, a schedule that Hutchinson set because one of Arkansas’ lethal injection drugs is about to expire.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an inmate’s requests to block his execution, scheduled for Thursday night.
The state’s high court rejected the requests Wednesday for Kenneth Williams.
Williams had asked for a stay of execution over claims about what evidence jurors considered when he was sentenced to death.
Williams still has legal challenges pending in other courts. If executed, Williams would be the fourth inmate to die over an 8-day span that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson set because one of the state’s lethal injection drugs expires at the end of the month.
Williams, who was serving a life sentence for the killing of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff cheerleader, was sentenced to death after he escaped prison in 1999 and killed a farmer.
A court transcript shows a federal judge ruled that witnesses describing a condemned killer opening and closing his mouth during his lethal injection wasn’t enough evidence to find that his execution amounted to inhumane torture.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker allowed Monday night’s execution of Marcel Williams to proceed after hearing from four witnesses who described seeing Jack Jones’ mouth move during his execution earlier that night. The transcript of the hearing was released Tuesday.
Baker heard testimony from attorneys for the inmates, Jones’ spiritual adviser and an official with the attorney general’s office.
Baker had temporarily halted Jones’ execution after Williams’ attorneys said Jones could be seen gulping for air five minutes into his execution.
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