For the first time in almost 17 years two convicted murderers were executed on the same night, on the same gurney, just three hours apart, as the state of Arkansas rushed to carry out a series of lethal injections before one of the required drugs expires. Williams was executed and pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m. Williams was executed about three hours later for the 1994 murder of a young mother.
Last night Arkansas became to first state to conduct a double execution in the United States in 17 years, but not without questions about whether or not the first inmate suffered before he died.
Marcel Williams' attorney persuaded U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker to temporarily block his execution, but the judge lifted that order at 9:22 p.m.
Prison officials spent 40 minutes placing IV lines in Williams, according to records released on Tuesday by the Department of Correction. Williams' attorneys argued that the execution appeared to be "torturous and inhumane". Gov. Asa Hutchinson originally scheduled four double executions over an 11-day period in April.
Up until last week, the state hadn't held an execution since 2005. It was Arkansas' first double execution since September 8, 1999, according to the Department of Corrections, and the first in the United States since two men were put to death by the state of Texas in 2000. Because the state's supply reaches its expiration date April 30, Arkansas scheduled eight executions before then.
Williams admitted responsibility to the state Parole Board last month, saying: "I wish I could take it back, but I can't".
The three examples of "juror misconduct" and other examples Williams raised earlier, including that at least one juror was unwilling to consider mitigating evidence, all deprived him of his Sixth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights, the attorneys argue.
The executions went forward after the US Supreme Court denied the inmates' emergency petitions for stays Monday night.
In responses submitted Wednesday, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office called the motions "an obvious attempt to overwhelm the Court with last-minute filings containing claims that could have been asserted almost a decade ago".
The attorneys' last-minute filing said Jones showed "continued consciousness" after the drug midazolam was administered. One of those women, Dina Windle, flew in to be present for Williams' clemency hearing that took place in March.
They also said in court papers that Jones moved his lips and was "gulping for air" after the first drug was administered. "They gave our family justice".
The inmates also sued over the sedative used in the two-drug protocol.
For his final meal, Jones requested fried chicken, potato logs with tartar sauce, three Butterfingers, a chocolate Butterfinger milkshake and fruit punch.
On June 6, 1995, Jones beat, raped and murdered Mary Phillips.
"This evening, Lacey Phillips Manor and Darla Phillips Jones have seen justice for the brutal rape and murder of their mother, Mary Phillips". Four days prior, the state executed Ledell Lee, who was convicted of murder in 1993 and maintained innocence until his death.
And he said that witnesses hear the part of the only part of the execution that has sound, the inmates' last words.
Arkansas's final scheduled execution is set for Thursday. She was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while daughter Lacey was tied to a chair. The jury sentenced Jack Jones to death, and his sentence was upheld by judges and reviewed thoroughly in courts of appeal at each level.
They said he may have received more than one dose of midazolam and that he was breathing heavily for a few minutes after the initial injection. Scott Braden said his clients were "denied access to independent mental health experts, even though they clearly demonstrated that mental health issues would be significant factors at their trials".