Arkansas court rejects inmate's stay requests

Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over an 11-day period before the end of April, when its supply of one lethal injection drug expires.

The state's attorney general denied the claims. Williams died at around 10:30 p.m. Jones's execution is reminiscent of the botched killing of Clayton Lockett, whose prolonged, mangled death by lethal injection in Oklahoma garnered global headlines in 2014. Williams was administered the injection at 10:16 p.m. (11:16 p.m. ET) and was pronounced dead 17 minutes later. A judge temporarily blocked Williams' execution, but lifted the stay an hour later.

Prison officials spent 40 minutes placing IV lines in Williams, according to records released on Tuesday by the Department of Correction.

Lawyers for the second man, Marcel Williams, convinced a judge minutes later to briefly delay his punishment over concerns about how Jones had died.

Arkansas has executed inmate Jack Jones by lethal injection, the first of what would be the only double-execution in the US since 2000.

Both inmates were served similar last meals.

Jones was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of Mary Phillips. She was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while daughter Lacey was tied to a chair.

"I hope over time you can learn who I really am and I am not a monster", he said in the roughly two-minute statement.

Jones was white, Williams black. He is on heavy doses of drugs they say could prevent the lethal injection drug midazolam from working and lead to a "tortuous death".

His sentence was carried out just three hours later. The victim's family has waited patiently for justice during that time.

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Jack Jones, 52, left a final message in a handwritten statement before his death last night. "I'm glad that part of my life, that chapter is closed".

Jones was convicted in the 1995 rape and murder of a mother in front of her young daughter. Marcel Williams, 24 at the time, forced her into his vehicle at gunpoint, drove her to several ATMs to make a total of 18 transactions, then raped her, strangled her in an abandoned storage shed, and buried her body in a shallow grave in North Little Rock. Her body was found two weeks later.

The three examples of "juror misconduct" and other examples Williams raised earlier, including that at least one juror was unwilling to consider mitigating evidence, all deprived him of his Sixth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights, the attorneys argue.

It comes against the backdrop of declining U.S. public support for the ultimate punishment, now at its lowest point since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976.

Williams did not offer any last words, witnesses told local media. There was no visible signs of struggle, such "grimacing" or "clenching of the fingers", KARK reporter Jessi Turnure said. "And then when I took the picture, with the flash, I saw her look up with that one eye".

"As far as we could tell, the inmate wasn't having any sort of trouble throughout it", she said. It was the first double-execution in the USA since 2000. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied them relief, and only one received a clemency recommendation.

The inmates sued over the sedative used in the two-drug protocol.

In Texas, which has carried out four executions this year, "the practice is to leave the microphone on", Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said in an email.

A full account of what happened during two Arkansas executions Monday - journalists reported the deaths were not abnormal, while attorneys outlined disturbing concerns - has been hard to establish given restrictions on what witnesses can see and hear.

When the two convicted murderers were put to death, the 20 or so witnesses heard only what Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley wanted them to hear.

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