Arkansas conducts first execution since 2005, plans 3 more

Arkansas court allows state to use execution drug

Thirty-one states now administer the death penalty, and lethal injection is the primary means of execution in all of them.

A group of Arkansas inmates is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block upcoming executions in the state, citing concerns with one of the lethal injection drugs.

Two court rulings dealt a blow to the USA state of Arkansas in its attempt to put to death seven inmates within days. Lee was the first inmate put to death in the state since 2005.

Why are executions stopped? But death penalty appeals nearly always are referred to the entire court.

The state of Arkansas executed death row inmate Ledell Lee late Thursday, its first death sentence in more than a decade and the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire.

Ledell Lee, 51, was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. CDT at the state's death chamber in its Cummins Unit prison, a Department of Corrections spokesman said. Lee was arrested less than an hour after the killing after spending some of the $300 he had stolen from Reese. Arkansas officials are trying to carry out the executions before their supply of midazolam, one of the execution drugs used, expires at the end of April.

At one point on Thursday night, the United States Supreme Court almost halted Mr.

Two more inmates are set to die Monday, and one on April 27. Under Arkansas' protocol, executioners administer 100 mg, or more than 11 times the typical dose, five minutes after the midazolam is administered and once the inmate is unconscious.

The execution ended a frantic day for Lee's case. Lee did not make a final statement.

"The governor knows the right thing was done tonight", J.R. Davis, a spokesman for Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, told the AP.

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Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed responses with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit regarding inmates Lee and Johnson's requests to stay their respective executions.

Arkansas officials are vowing to press ahead with the Thursday executions despite the setback to plans to resume capital punishment after a 12-year hiatus.

"We've established that modern DNA testing methods can prove Mr Johnson's innocence, and Arkansas law clearly established that Mr Johnson is entitled to that testing", said Karen Thompson, a staff attorney with the Innocence Project, which filed the appeal along with Johnson's attorney.

There are many. The two set for execution Thursday, Lee and Johnson, both want more DNA testing in hopes of proving their innocence, though a Pulaski County judge on Tuesday rejected Lee's request for the enhanced tests.

Rights group Repreive lauded the county court's ruling, saying Arkansas obtained the drug through deception.

"We believe we have done all we can do at this time to recover our product", the company said in a statement. It was used in a "botched" Oklahoma execution in 2014, when a conscious inmate faced 40 minutes of paralysis and agonizing pain before suffering a heart attack. The company argued that it would suffer harm financially and to its reputation if the executions were carried out.

The legal delays frustrated Hutchinson.

Multiple last-minute legal challenges have derailed the state's execution plans, which has been characterized as unprecedented.

Johnson was granted the reprieve by the Arkansas Supreme Court. At one point in the proceedings before a federal judge last week, Arkansas Solicitor General Lee Rudofsky declared, "Enough is enough".

If Gray's ruling is vacated by the Arkansas Supreme Court or the state obtains a different supply of vecuronium bromide, the executions of four other inmates who have not received individual stays could potentially go forward. Under that timeline, the state would be unable to execute Ward and Davis before its supply of midazolam expires April 30. The state and its lawyers say the inmates are seeking any legal approach they can find in their efforts to avoid death. In July 2016, McKesson claimed that ADC "leveraged" its medical license to purchase the 10 vials of vecuronium bromide.

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