Arkansas holds fourth execution in eight days

News 28 Apr 2017
Arkansas holds fourth execution in eight days

FILE PHOTO: Inmate Kenneth Williams is shown in this booking photo provided March 21, 2017. Williams is scheduled to be executed in Arkansas, U.S., April 27, 2017. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo By Steve Barnes | GRADY, Ark.

GRADY, Ark. Arkansas executed its fourth inmate in eight days on Thursday, administering a lethal injection to a man who killed two people after escaping from a prison where he had been serving a life sentence for murdering a cheerleader.

Kenneth Williams, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. (0405 GMT) at the state's Cummins Unit prison. The state, which had not held an execution in 12 years until this month, had already put three other inmates to death since April 20.

It currently does not have a schedule to execute any more inmates.

Arkansas had initially planned to execute eight inmates in 11 days in April, the most of any state in so short a period since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Four of those executions were halted by various courts.

The unprecedented schedule, set because a drug in the state's execution mix expires at the end of April, prompted criticism that Arkansas was acting recklessly.

It also set off legal filings that raised questions about U.S. death chamber protocols, troubled prosecutions and difficulties in obtaining lethal injection drugs.

(Reporting by Steve Barnes in Grady and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Clarence Fernandez)

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