>> What do we want?>> Mercy!>> Arkansas officials vowing to move ahead with a series of lethal injections over the next two weeks. Even after a decision from the US Supreme Court blocked two executions planned for Monday night hours before they were set to take place. Arkansas has faced a series of legal challenges since it announced plans to execute eight convicted prisoners in quick order before the end of April.
The state last put an inmate to death 12 years ago. The reason for the sudden rush, one of the drugs in the state's stock pile of lethal poisons is set to expire. Two men were set to die Monday night, Don Davis and Bruce Ward, both had spent more than 20 years on death row, both are convicted murderers.
Their attorneys requested stays of execution over the questions over the prisoners' mental competency. And on Monday the Arkansas State Supreme Court granted a stay in both executions. State officials quickly appealed to the US Supreme Court. 15 minutes before the execution warrants was set to expire, the answer came back, the state's appeal was denied.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge saying they are planning to go ahead with two more lethal injections on Thursday. Death penalty opponents have decried Arkansas' rush to execute inmates, some of the concern focusing on the expiring drug. Midazolam, a sedative, supposed to render the patient unconscious before two other drugs stop the heart and lungs.
But in at least two occasions, the drug appears to have failed, leading to botched and horrific deaths. States have struggled to find reliable sources of lethal injection drugs, as pharmaceutical companies have increasingly refused to supply chemicals for lethal injections. The number of executions in the US fell to a 25 year low in 2016.
As overall violent crime rates declined in the last quarter century.