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Witnesses Say Arkansas Murderer “Suffered” During Execution
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Summary: Witnesses said that Arkansas’ latest death row inmate to be executed “suffered” as he was killed.

A convicted murderer allegedly “suffered” during his lethal injection on Thursday in Arkansas.


“We tried over and over again to get the state to comport with their own protocol to avoid torturing our client to death, and yet reports from the execution witnesses indicate that Mr. Williams suffered during this execution,” the executed’s lawyer Shawn Nolan told The New York Daily News.

Witnesses told the publication that inmate Kenneth Williams had jerked 20 times after the drug concoction was given to him, and he was moaning and breathing heavily during the 13 minutes of the process.

Arkansas has been swift at executing its death row inmates this month because the state’s supply of a key ingredient to the lethal injection cocktail was set to expire. In the past eight days, four inmates have already been killed, despite opposition from the inmates’ legal teams who requested an investigation into their cases. These requests eventually made it to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the state.

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Williams, 38, was on death row for 17 years. The former gang member had been convicted of killing deputy warden Cecil Boren in 1999 during an escape from prison, where he had been serving time for another murder. During his escape, he had killed Boren and stolen a vehicle, in which he later got into an accident and killed another man.

Before his execution, Williams gave a speech in which he apologized for his acts before he began speaking in tongues.

“I was more than wrong,” Williams said. “The crimes I perpetrated against you all were senseless, extremely hurtful, and inexcusable.”

According to The Guardian, Williams began convulsing three minutes after the first drug was injected. Witnesses sitting behind protective glass reported that they could hear Williams making noises before he violently lunged against his leather restraint.

After Williams was ruled unconscious, the execution team gave him another drug that paralyzed his body. He was pronounced dead on Thursday at 11:05 p.m.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a statement that Williams’ death was a success and that the reactions the witnesses reported were “an involuntary muscular reaction” from the drug, midazolam.

“The long path of justice ended tonight and Arkansans can reflect on the last two weeks with confidence that our system of laws in this state has worked,” Hutchinson said.

Critics of the death penalty say that midazolam results in botched executions, which physically hurts the inmates and is thus cruel and unusual punishment. Despite their attempts at stopping the death penalty, Arkansas officials were successful at killing their death row inmates before their supply of midazolam expired at the end of the month.

Williams’ legal team has demanded an investigation into his execution, but Hutchinson said that the killing had followed protocol and did not think a review was necessary.

“The executions were carried out in accordance with those protocols in the four, there was not any indication of pain — which was an objective and concern that had been expressed by the defense lawyers,” Hutchinson told NBC News. “I see no reason for any investigation other than the routine that is done after every execution.”

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