In a separate case filed jointly by the eight inmates, their lawyers argued that the firing squad would be more humane than the midazolam lethal injection protocol. The eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a compressed period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. McKesson Corporation is the supplier of one of the state's lethal drugs used on Lee and it tried to stop the executions in court. With the support of other judges on the Supreme Court, could the debate around Lee's death and other executions planned in Arkansas ultimately lead to the Court deciding to abolish capital punishment in the United States? He received a legal injection cocktail of three drugs, including one that has sparked sharp debate.
Arkansas death-row inmates Jack Harold Jones Jr., left, and Marcel Williams are scheduled for execution on April 24, 2017.
At one point on Thursday night, the Supreme Court almost halted Mr.
The state also has had to face criticism from drug companies unhappy that their products may be used in executions.
Editor's Note: Arkansas planned to execute eight people between April 17 and April 27, an unprecedented number of executions by one state in so few days.
In addition to the pending federal appeals, however, a state trial court judge, Circuit Judge Alice Gray, issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday preventing the state from using the vecuronium bromide it purchased from McKesson Medical-Surgical in its executions. McKesson Corp says the state obtained the drug under false pretences and that it wants nothing to do with executions.
All those court actions came after the Arkansas Supreme Court had cleared the way for another of the three drugs to be used in the executions.
However courts have halted four of these, including back-to-back executions scheduled for Monday.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office acknowledged that the original plan confronted tall obstacles.
Johnson and Lee both say they are innocent. Johnson was convicted of the 1994 murder of Carol Heath.
Activist Sister Helen Prejean tweeted in response to the execution: 'Arkansas has killed Ledell Lee.
He was strapped to a gurney, and declined the opportunity to make a final statement before he died. "Lee and identify the real perpetrator of the crime".
Lee dressed in "clean whites" at 6:18 p.m.in a cell close to the gurney he would die on, but he did not arrive to the death chamber until more than five hours later because his case was delayed by an appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court. "The court's error in denying the motion for stay will not be capable of correction". However, at a court hearing on the McKesson lawsuit, department deputy director Rory Griffin said he did tell a McKesson salesman about the intended objective of the drug.