Note: we are republishing this story, which originally made the news in April 2017, in light of recent reports about an increase in botched executions. It’s estimated that 3% of U.S. executions between 1890 to 2010 were botched, with Lethal injection having the highest rate of failure. More on this here: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions/botched-executions
Before being executed, an Arkansas inmate issued some surprising final words.
According to CNN, 38-year-old Kenneth Williams was sentenced to life in jail for the 1998 killing of Dominique Hurd. After escaping from prison in 1999, he was convicted of capital murder in connection with the killing of Cecil Boren.
The state of Arkansas executed four inmates in just eight days as its supply of a sedative used in lethal injections was set to expire. Williams was the fourth of eight inmates set to be executed before the supply ran out.
Boren's daughter, Jodie Efird, watched from the death chamber as Williams was executed. She said that while the execution will not bring closure to her family, it does help some.
"Every time we drive down this road, he's not here anymore," Efird said of Williams.
Williams' final words were surprising to some, as he appeared to show remorse for his actions.
"I was more than wrong," Williams said. "The crime I perpetrated against you all was senseless."
At 11:05 p.m. on April 27, Williams died by lethal injection. According to NBC News, Williams' attorney demanded an investigation after the inmate reportedly convulsed during his execution, which was described as "horrifying."
"This is the most I've seen an inmate move three or four minutes in," said Associated Press reporter Kelly Kissel, who witnessed his 10th execution.
Kissel said that Williams "lurched" about 15 times quickly, followed by another five slower lurches, three minutes after he was given the sedative midazolam.
"This is very disturbing, but not at all surprising, given the history of the risky sedative midazolam, which has been used in many botched executions," said Williams' attorney, Shawn Nolan.
Nolan added: "What's important right now is that all the information about tonight's execution must be meticulously documented and preserved so that we can discover exactly what happened in that execution chamber."
According to CNN, the state of Arkansas attempted to complete a number of executions in late April because officials were uncertain if Arkansas would be able to obtain more of the necessary lethal drugs. Suppliers of the drugs do not want their products used in executions.
Critics of the death penalty have argued that midozolam should not be used in executions because it is a sedative and not an anesthetic. They argued that the condemned would feel severe pain from the sedative during the execution. Some have noted that midazolam contributed to a number of botched executions in the past.