Contrasting accounts of Arkansas execution from witnesses

Two Arkansas killers set to die Monday in the nation's first double execution in more than 16 years acknowledge they're guilty but fear the lethal injections could subject them to excruciating pain due to their various health problems.

Jones was given the death penalty for the 1995 rape and killing of Mary Phillips.

Jones was convicted in the 1995 rape and murder of a mother in front of her young daughter.

Arkansas has executed Marcel Wayne Williams, the state's attorney general confirmed, making him the second man to be put to death Monday night - in Arkansas' first double execution since 1999.

Jones' execution was close to its scheduled time, beginning at 7 p.m. Williams was supposed to follow at 8:15, but the execution was postponed after District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary stay as questions arose about whether Jones' execution was humane or not, KARK reported.

In the emergency filing, Williams' lawyers wrote that officials spent 45 minutes trying to place an IV line in Jones' neck before placing it elsewhere.

Attorneys for Jones and Williams had argued that health problems - both were diabetic, and Williams weighed almost 400 pounds - could complicate the lethal injection process.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had scheduled four double executions to take place this month, but courts ordered delays for four of those scheduled to die. The state initially planned to conduct eight executions over a 11-day period in April, arguing its supply of a lethal injection drug would expire on April 30.

Williams was the third inmate to be put to death in Arkansas in the past week.

Courts have halted four of those executions, but Arkasnsas officials are understood to be hopeful they can complete one more execution before the end of this month.

Williams admitted responsibility to the state Parole Board last month, saying: "I wish I could take it back, but I can't".

The request was granted, temporarily halting Williams' execution. The decision leaves Kenneth Williams as the only inmate facing execution Thursday night.

In a response filed with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for the state said the inmates had filed an "avalanche" of lawsuits to obtain stays. He is on heavy doses of drugs they say could prevent the lethal injection drug midazolam from working and lead to a "tortuous death".

The first three executions were cancelled because of court rulings. "He (Jones) spoke for about two minutes".

Do victims' families really want the death penalty?

Kelly Kissel, the state news editor for The Associated Press, witnessed Williams' execution Monday and eight previous lethal injections in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' execution protocol includes three drugs, two of which are used in surgery and one that benefits cardiac patients.

Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m. Jones ate fried chicken, potato logs with tartar sauce, beef jerky bites, three candy bars, a chocolate milkshake and fruit punch. Jones was convicted in 1996 of rape and murder.

"This evening, Lacey Phillips Manor and Darla Phillips Jones have seen justice for the brutal rape and murder of their mother, Mary Phillips". Their appeals went all the way to the Supreme Court, but were rejected on Monday afternoon.

Last week, Arkansas executed Lendell Lee, a man who received woefully inadequate representation throughout his case and who claimed his innocence until his death.

Attorneys for Jones say he could suffer from a "torturous death" because he may be resistant to midazolam. He strangled her with the cord to a coffee pot. "We asked that he call Dina Windle, who was one of Mr. Williams's victims", Kearney said in a statement April 24.

The attorneys say their recent appointment marks the first time sufficient funds have been available to investigate jury misconduct at Williams' trial, and that they have conducted such an investigation very recently which found "significant evidence of jury misconduct, bias and exposure to improper evidence".

  • Jon Douglas