The first three executions were cancelled because of court decisions but two more are set to go ahead on...
Anti-death penalty supporters Abraham Bonowitz, left, and Randy Gardner wait near their taped off "protest corral" outside the Varner Unit late Monday, April 17, 2017 near Varner, Ark. His execution originally was set for 7 p.m.
He had been on death row for more than 20 years after he was convicted of beating Debra Reese to death with a tyre iron in 1993. Officers arrested Lee an hour after the murder on February 9, 1993 after he used some cash that he stole from Reese to pay a bill at a store.
After a hiatus of almost 12 years, the execution was carried out without any apparent glitches. Lee showed no signs of consciousness two minutes after the lethal injection, which began at 11:44 p.m.
Lee requested Holy Communion as his last meal, prison officials said.
"But in the end, we know the right thing was done tonight". The state Supreme Court lifted a judge's order preventing its use hours before Lee's execution.
Lee was executed shortly after the US Supreme Court denied emergency motions in his case.
"Arkansas's decision to rush through the execution of Mr".
Pending before the U.S. Supreme Court is an appeal by all eight inmates, who contend the compressed execution schedule increased the likelihood of a botched execution and that one of the three drugs, midazolam, has been proven ineffective in rendering unconsciousness prior to administration of the two lethal agents. Under Arkansas' protocol, executioners would administer 100 mg, or more than 11 times the typical dose, five minutes after the midazolam is administered and once the inmate is unconscious.
"Apparently the reason the State made a decision to proceed with these eight executions is that the "use by" date of the state's execution drug is about to expire", Breyer wrote in his dissent.
The state of Arkansas plans to execute three more men next week to beat the clock on their expiring drug supply.
The frenetic filing of lawsuits and appeals in Arkansas has a profound impact on those awaiting execution, on their families and on the relatives of their victims. The state had planned to execute eight inmates over 10 days starting April 1, but four of the men have received stays for various reasons.
What this highlights is how hard it has become for states to kill by lethal injection, with botched executions and drug companies saying they do not want their products associated with the practice. He received injections of three drugs, including one that has sparked sharp legal debate. In text messages from Jenkins' phone, there is no mention that the drug would be used in executions. The state's elected prosecutors also criticized the roadblocks to the execution plans.
Using redacted drug labels, The Associated Press identified West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp.as the likely manufacturer of Arkansas' midazolam supply.
In the vecuronium bromide case, a state prison official testified that he deliberately ordered the drug a year ago in a way that there wouldn't be a paper trail, relying on phone calls and text messages.
Kent Scheidegger, a lawyer with the pro-prosecution Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, said Gorsuch is "not one who will further delay justice when it has already been badly delayed merely because the lawyers for a death row inmate bring weak claims at the last minute".
It is possible that Breyer and Justice Elena Kagan, who voted for the stay but not to take up the case, decided as a strategic matter that it was a good idea to simply take this case off the Court's docket - lest the conservative majority use it as a vehicle to make it even easier for states to kill people. The company had argued that the drug, vecuronium bromide, had been purchased under false pretenses.