Speed Reads

death penalty

Judge lifts court order blocking 2nd Arkansas execution Monday night

Just a few hours after Arkansas executed death row inmate Jack Jones, a federal judge issued and then lifted a court order that temporarily kept the state from putting to death a second prisoner, Marcel Williams.

Jones, convicted of the 1995 rape and murder of Mary Phillips, was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m., 14 minutes after the procedure began. Attorneys for Williams said it took 45 minutes to get an IV into Jones and he was moving his lips and "gulping for air" after the first drug was administered. They argued that because Williams is obese, it would be difficult to place an IV and he would experience a "torturous death." The state attorney general's office called this description of the execution "inaccurate."

Earlier in the night, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an execution stay for Williams. It is unclear if his attorneys will continue to try to delay the execution; Williams' death warrant is set to expire at midnight. The last time a state executed two prisoners in the same night was in 2000. Arkansas has been moving to execute more prisoners before one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of the month.