Arkansas carried out two death sentences in one day on Monday night. This makes them the first state in 17 years to do this. The last double execution took place in 1999.
The first execution was Marcel Williams, at Cummins Unit in Southeast Arkansas, who was pronounced dead at 10:33 pm. The execution procedure took 17 minutes. He was sentenced after the rape and killing of a 22-year old female, who he kidnapped from a gas station.
The second execution was Jack Jones, who was executed 3 hours prior. He was sent to death row in 1995 for the rape and murder of Mary Phillips, who he strangled with the cord of a coffee pot. He also attempted the murder of her 11-year old daughter.
This was his second rape-murder, as he had done this before in Florida. He said that he was ready to die.
The state was in a rush to carry out these executions because its supply of lethal injection drug expires on April 30th.
Arizona Governor Asa Hutchinson initially scheduled four double-executions in April. This would have been the most the state has ever done in a such a small period of time.
From Fox News:
“After more than 20 years, justice has prevailed for the family of Stacey Errickson,” Hutchinson said in a statement after Williams’ death. “This is a serious and reflective time in our state and it is important for the Errickson family and all Arkansans to know that in this case our laws ended in justice.” In a letter earlier this month, Jones said he was ready to be killed by the state. The letter, which his attorney read aloud at his clemency hearing, went on to say: “I shall not ask to be forgiven, for I haven’t the right.”
After Jones was put to death, Hutchinson said in a statement that the “rule of law had been upheld.” “A governor never asks for this responsibility, but I accept it as part of the solemn pledge I made to uphold the law,” he added. “We hope this will help bring closure to the Phillips family.” Including Jones and Williams, nine people have been executed in the United States this year, four in Texas, three in Arkansas and one each in Missouri and Virginia. Last year, 20 people were executed, down from 98 in 1999 and the lowest number since 14 in 1991, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.