New issue in executions: Should the death chamber be silent?

New issue in executions: Should the death chamber be silent?

New issue in executions: Should the death chamber be silent?

The back-to-back executions would be the first time in 17 years that a U.S. state put two inmates to death on the same day.

Arkansas carried out a double execution Monday night, marking the first time in almost 17 years that any state has killed two people on the same day. Williams was executed and pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m.

Jones was convicted in the 1995 rape and murder of a mother in front of her young daughter.

A lawyer who watched Monday's executions in Arkansas said he saw an inmate open his mouth several times when it should have been still, prompting another lawyer to claim in a court filing that Jack Jones was gulping for air after being given a sedative, the first component of a lethal injection. Jones' execution provided attorneys an argument for halting Williams' execution, but also gave them a very narrow window to argue for sparing their client's life.

Jones' execution was close to its scheduled time, beginning at 7 p.m. Williams was supposed to follow at 8:15, but the execution was postponed after District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary stay as questions arose about whether Jones' execution was humane or not, KARK reported.

Originally, the two were set to be killed within an hour of one another, but after attorneys for Williams witnessed the execution of Jones, they called for an emergency stay of execution on the grounds that the execution they witnessed was "torturous and inhumane".

The executions were the second and third of four prisoners scheduled to be executed before the state's supply of lethal injections expires at the end of the month.(http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/23892) Jones was sentenced to death despite the fact that the jury was not told of his serious mental disabilities. They also wanted to safeguard the identity of drug suppliers to ease the state's ability to obtain components of the lethal injection.

Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said that the lip movement was Jones apologizing and thanking department director, Wendy Kelley. The execution occurred very close to its scheduled 7 p.m. start, and prison officials had given no indication there had been a problem placing the IV line. 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.

After the intravenous catheters had been inserted into his body but before the lethal fluids were delivered, Jones was given a last opportunity to speak.

In a series of tweets sent out as Jones faced death, Prejean used research compiled by the Fair Punishment Project to describe the inmate's past. "He never appeared to be in any distress or pain at all", Kelley said, offering the same observation for Williams' and Lee's executions, too. The state is also due to execute Kenneth Williams Thursday. Williams raped two more women, both of whom survived.

Jamie Giani, an assistant public defender on Williams' legal team who witnessed his execution, said she watched officials conduct the execution but was uncertain throughout about what was actually happening.

Jones was convicted in 1996 of raping and murdering Mary Phillips in the accounting office where she worked as a bookkeeper.

Mary Phillips' family said their comments after Jones' death was a way to make sure the emphasis of the executions remains on the victims. Arkansas executed four men in an eight day period in 1960.

Rutledge released another statement following Jones' execution. His chest stopped moving two minutes later. "I wish I could take it back but I can't".

Arkansas executed two men in one night this week, and there is a dispute about how it went.

The State of Arkansas has completed the first double execution in the United States since 2000 with the executions of Jack Jones Jr. and Marcel Williams.

ANDREW DEMILLO: It was after a microphone was off so we don't know if he was saying something but there was moving for about 2 minutes.

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