After going nearly 12 years without executing an inmate, Arkansas now has executed three in a few days, including two last night, the Associated Press reports. Jack Jones and Marcel Williams received lethal injections on the same gurney about three hours apart. It was the first double execution in the U.S. since 2000. Jones, 52, was executed on schedule, shortly after 7 p.m. Attorneys for Williams, 46, convinced a federal judge to delay his execution briefly over concerns about how the earlier one was carried out. They claimed Jones “was moving his lips and gulping for air,” an account the state’s attorney general denied. The judge lifted her stay an hour later and Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m.
Williams’ attorneys said officials spent 45 minutes trying to place an IV line in Jones’ neck before placing it elsewhere. The lawyers said Williams, who weighed 400 pounds, could have faced a “torturous” death because of his weight. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had scheduled four double executions over an 11-day period. The state said the executions needed to be carried out before its supply of one lethal injection drug expires on April 30. Arkansas put to death one other inmate last week and has a final one scheduled for Thursday. Four others have been blocked.