- .Arkansas’ attorney general has asked governor Asa Hutchinson to set execution dates for eight death row inmates in what would be the state’s first executions in a decade.
A spokesman for attorney general Leslie Rutledge confirmed Tuesday that the request was made. A spokesman for Hutchinson said the governor did not have an immediate timeline for when he would set the dates.
The Arkansas Department of Correction purchased enough of the three-drug combination used in the state’s new execution protocol in late July to perform the executions. A state law passed this year lets the department buy the drugs secretly, as in other states.According to an invoice in which the name of the supplier is blacked out, the department paid $24,226 for the three drugs needed for lethal injections, including the sedative midazolam.
Midazolam was implicated after executions last year in Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma went on longer than expected, with inmates gasping and groaning as they died. The US supreme court in June approved continued use of the drug, rejecting a challenge from three Oklahoma inmates now set to be put to death in September and October.
Rutledge’s spokesman Judd Deere said there were eight letters sent, one each for inmates Bruce Earl Ward, Don William Davis, Jack Jones, Jason McGehee, Kenneth Williams, Marcel Williams, Stacey Johnson and Terrick Nooner.
The eight men have exhausted their court appeals for their criminal convictions, but the inmates filed a joint lawsuit in April when the law was passed allowing the state to keep the manufacturer of the drugs a secret.Attorney Jeff Rosenzweig, who represents the eight inmates, said Tuesday he plans to “file the appropriate pleadings in the appropriate courts to delay any execution date that the governor might set”.
Arkansas has not executed an inmate since 2005 because the state’s execution law had been challenged in court.