LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CN) – Arkansas now has all the drugs it needs to carry out eight scheduled executions that will occur in pairs next month in the span of just 10 days.
An Arkansas Department of Corrections spokesman said 100 vials of the lethal injection drug postassium chloride were delivered to the department March 8. The state’s previous batch of the drug, one of three used in the state’s lethal injection cocktail, expired in January.
The new supply clears the path for the executions of eight death row inmates scheduled between April 17 and 27. The state scheduled the executions before its supply of the sedative midazolam expires at the end of April.
Arkansas law prohibits the disclosure of the state’s supplier of the drug, and the department did not release details on how much the potassium chloride cost the state.
It’s been 11 years since Arkansas has executed a death-row inmate, as legal challenges and trouble acquiring the drugs halted the sentences.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson set the execution dates just after the U.S. Supreme Court declined in February to review a state court ruling upholding Arkansas’ lethal injection law.
Attorneys for the inmates have argued that the state’s lethal injection law and three-drug protocol is unconstitutional. They challenged the state’s method of execution as cruel and unusual punishment.
The decision to carry out the executions within a 10-day span drew ire from groups like the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The organization said in a statement that it is “outraged” and called the “mass execution…grotesque and unprecedented.”
The Arkansas inmates scheduled for execution next month are Bruce Ward, Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Ledell Lee, Jack Jones, Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams and Jason McGehee.