On Good Friday, U.S. Judge Halts Multiple Arkansas Executions

By the Web Editors 4-15-2017
Inmates Bruce Ward(top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams, and Jason Mcgehee. Scheduled to be executed in Arkansas, beginning April 17. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A U.S. judge in Little Rock on Saturday temporarily blocked plans by Arkansas to hold a rapid series of executions this month, after the inmates argued the state's rush to the death chamber was unconstitutional and reckless.

Arkansas planned to kill seven convicted murderers beginning Monday — the most in such a short time period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. 

The state originally planned to execute eight inmates in four days. The state Supreme Court on Friday granted a stay of execution on one of the seven, and an eighth inmate whom the state planned to execution won an earlier stay.  

The reason for the rush, according to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson was that one of the sedatives in the lethal injection mix expires at the end of the month. 

Writer and activist Shane Claiborne, Sr. Helen Prejean, and others celebrated the news, as they advocate against the death penalty.

Reuters reporting contributed to this story.

Don't Miss a Story!

Get Sojourners delivered straight to your inbox.

Must Reads