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U.S. judge temporarily halts second Arkansas execution

News 25 Apr 2017

left right Inmate Jack Jones is shown in this booking photo provided March 21, 2017. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS 1/2 left right Inmate Marcel Williams is shown in this booking photo provided March 21, 2017. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS 2/2 By Steve Barnes | LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. A U.S. judge temporarily halted the second of Arkansas' two planned executions late on Monday, approximately an hour after the first inmate was put to death.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in Little Rock, Arkansas, issued a one-line order staying the execution of Marcel Williams until 8:30 p.m. CDT (0130 GMT) or until she releases another order, whichever is later.

The stay came just minutes before Williams, 46, was scheduled to begin undergoing the lethal injection process and approximately an hour after Jack Jones, 52, was pronounced dead by state officials.

Williams' lawyers filed a last-minute appeal claiming that Jones was still moving more than five minutes after he received a sedative, midazolam, that is supposed to render inmates unconscious.

Reporters allowed to witness the execution said Jones' lips were seen moving after the first drug was administered but did not specifically suggest he appeared to be conscious after more than five minutes, according to local media reports. They also said Jones did not exhibit any signs of distress.

Jones was convicted of raping and killing Mary Phillips, 34, in 1995 and trying to murder her 11-year-old daughter. He also was convicted of rape and murder in Florida.

Williams was convicted of the 1997 kidnapping, rape and murder of 22-year-old Stacy Errickson. He also abducted and raped two other women.

The last time a U.S. state executed two people in one day was 2000 in Texas.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Trott)

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