Arkansas Seeks Observers for Eight Executions

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The state of Arkansas, which plans to execute eight inmates in 10 days next month, is struggling to find enough people to watch them die, reports the New York Times. State law requires that at least six people witness an execution to ensure that the death penalty laws are properly followed. Finding that many volunteer witnesses to cover all of the scheduled executions has proved difficult, prompting correction director Wendy Kelley to seek volunteers personally. She has extended invitations at least to members of the Little Rock Rotary Club after delivering a keynote address on Tuesday.

“You seem to be a group that does not have felony backgrounds and are over 21,” Kelley told the Rotarians, said the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “So if you’re interested in serving in that area, in this serious role, just call my office.” Member Bill Booker said some observers laughed at Kelley’s remarks. “It quickly became obvious that she was not kidding,” he said. Gov. Asa Hutchinson scheduled the executions of eight men — four black and four white, and all convicted of murder — from April 17 to 27.

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