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Arkansas governor dismisses calls for full execution probe
September 26 2017, 07:20 | Irvin Gilbert
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled the ADC must request the state medical examiner's office collect the samples by 8 p.m. Friday night.
In addition to the autopsy, the judge also ordered the Arkansas authorities to preserve blood and tissue samples from Williams's body.
In addition, three of the four black inmates originally scheduled for execution were killed, Clifton said, while three of the four white inmates originally slated for execution received stays by the courts. But lingering questions about the last execution - which included an inmate convulsing and lurching 20 times on the gurney - is going to make shifting attention to other issues a hard task.
Arkansas will have a more hard time obtaining additional lethal injection drugs after an unprecedented court challenge by a drug distributor and possible complications during at least one of the four executions the state carried out this month, experts said. The court filing says those movements "are not indicative of any degree of pain or suffering". But any attention those changes could garner pales in comparison to the national and worldwide scrutiny Arkansas has faced over its multiple execution plan.
The state's response also says: "The drugs worked as intended and planned".
That's what Hutchinson concluded after he spoke with the Wendy Kelley, the director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, who was inside the death chamber watching Williams.
Kenneth Williams, 38, was given a lethal injection, but he didn't actually die until 13 minutes later, after convulsing 20 times, reports the Daily Mirror. Accounts of his execution raised fresh concerns about whether the sedative midazolam, a Valium-like drug, is effective in lethal injection mixes.
Williams and three others were executed from April 20 through Thursday. Media witnesses say that Mr. Williams lurched forward as many as twenty times, was observed coughing, convulsing, lurching, jerking, with sound, and more during the execution, including making sounds that were audible in an adjacent room, even after his microphone was turned off - none of this should have happened. However, witnesses at the execution said that he appeared to suffer as the lethal drug "cocktail" was administered, prompting one to say that "it looked like something was wrong".
Earlier this week when a double execution was carried out in Arkansas, attorneys representing the second inmate applied for an emergency stay after witnessing what they called an "inhumane", treatment of the first inmate.
One of Williams' attorneys called the execution "horrifying".
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from Kenneth Williams, allowing officials to proceed with plans to put the condemned killer to death. She got Johnson's name and phone number from Williams' attorney and called her. But his prayer faded off as the sedative midazolam took effect. He said he does not think Arkansas needs to change its execution protocol.
Arkansas executed its fourth inmate in eight days, ending a frantic schedule as the state's supply of lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April.
She said Hutchinson, who described the execution as "flawless", should launch a full investigation into what went wrong. He lurched violently against the leather chest restraint, then the rate slowed for a final five movements.
Kayla Greenwood told the newspaper that she learned just days before the execution that Williams had a daughter who had not seen him since she was a toddler, and that Johnson had a young daughter of her own.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
The compressed lethal injection timeline could attract more scrutiny after Williams' death.
Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over an 11-day period before one of its lethal injection drugs expires on Sunday.
In 2009, Williams argued that the prison's failure to prevent his escape was a relevant mitigating factor in the penalty phase of his trial and that he was improperly denied funding for a corrections expert to testify regarding the prison's negligence.