Arkansas to Execute Fourth Man in 8 Days Tonight

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CN) — Arkansas plans to execute its fourth man of the month tonight, despite pending legal challenges looming and the European Union’s request that Gov. Asa Hutchinson stop the execution.

Kenneth Williams, 38, is to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. in the death chamber at the Cummins Unit, in an unincorporated area of Lincoln County southeast of Fort Smith, if appeals to the Eighth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court fail.

Williams was convicted of capital murder for the 1999 killing and robbery of Cecil Boren, 18 days after Williams escaped from prison in Lincoln County where he was serving a life sentence for killing university cheerleader Dominique Hurd. Williams also killed motorist Michael Greenwood during a high-speed police chase.

His attorneys say Williams is mentally disabled and ineligible for execution.

“Mr. Williams was intellectually disabled at the time of his crime, and he remains intellectually disabled today as he awaits his imminent execution,” his attorneys with the Federal Defender Services say in an April 21 request for a stay of execution.

State prosecutors called the claims meritless and in a 1-page order Wednesday, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied two motions to stay his execution. U.S. District Judge Jodi Dennis also declined to block the execution.

Arkansas has executed three men in the past week as part of its plan to kill eight over an 11-day span before its supply of midazolam expires in at the end of April. The sedative is the first drug of a series of three that Arkansas uses to kill people. Legal challenges blocked four of the executions but the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Ledell Lee to be put to death last Thursday.

Jack Harold Jones, 52, and Marcel Wayne Williams, 46, were killed Monday night, 3 hours apart, the nation’s first double execution in 17 years.

In a letter delivered Wednesday to Hutchinson, the European Union’s ambassador to the United States said trial evidence showed Williams was intellectually disabled, and urged the governor to commute the death sentence.

“I also understand that three doctors have submitted reports to the courts this week finding that Mr. Williams meets the definition of intellectual disability. I believe this evidence should be heard and that Mr. Williams should not be executed,” Ambassador David O’Sullivan wrote.

The European Union also expressed concern about the state’s unprecedented execution schedule and the method it used to acquire its execution drugs.

“The European Union respectfully urges you, Governor, to take these factors into account and to commute the sentence of Mr. Kenneth D. Williams and grant him relief from the death penalty,” the letter says.

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