On April 27, Arkansas executed its fourth inmate in eight days.
Kenneth Williams, 38, was given a lethal injection, but he didn't actually die until 13 minutes later, after convulsing 20 times, reports the Daily Mirror.
The Daily Mirror also gave details of his huge final meal, which allegedly consisted of two pieces of fried chicken, barbecued beans, sweet rice, whole kernel corn, stewed seasoned tomatoes, two cinnamon rolls, two cookies, four slices of bread and fruit punch.
Williams was initially given a life sentence for killing a cheerleader. However, he escaped from prison in a barrel of hog slop, and ended up killing a former deputy warden, stealing his truck, and then wrecking the vehicle in a crash that killed yet another person. That series of fatal events landed him back in prison and on death row.
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In a statement read aloud in the death chamber, Williams said: "I extend my sincerest of apologies to the families I have senselessly wronged and deprived of their loved ones. I was more than wrong. The crimes I perpetrated against you all were senseless, extremely hurtful and inexcusable."
He was the final inmate to die in the so-called "conveyor belt" of executions which Arkansas initiated in a rush to beat the expiration date on their stock of lethal drug midazolam.
The first in line was Ledell Lee, 51, who was put to death on April 20. The second and third men were Marcel Williams, 46, and Jack Jones, 52, who were put to death in back-to-back executions on April 25.
“The close scheduling of these executions is unprecedented in modern US history," said Amnesty International spokesperson Erika Guevara Rosas in a press release prior to the executions. "Just four months after the USA recorded its lowest execution total for a quarter of a century, Arkansas is preparing to buck this positive trend in a shameful race to beat a drug expiration date.”
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Executions had been on hold in Arkansas since 2005 because of legal challenges due to botched lethal injections, explained the famed human rights organization. "A number of recent instances have been documented of prisoners who have been given midazolam writhing, gasping and struggling in agony for prolonged periods of time before dying," it noted.
The state had initially planned to put a total of eight inmates on the "conveyor belt," but four of those executions were halted by various courts.
According to a Pew Research poll published in September 2016, less than half of Americans said they support the death penalty, reports The New York Times.