Arkansas executes fourth inmate in 8 days

Credit: Arkansas Department of Corrections

Credit: Arkansas Department of Corrections

Arkansas executed its fourth inmate in eight days, as Kenneth Williams received a lethal injection Thursday night, KARK reported.

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Williams, 38, died at the Cummins Unit prison in Varner. He was convicted of killing a former deputy warden after he escaped from prison in 1999, The Associated Press reported. At the time of his escape, in a hog slop-filled tank in a garbage truck, Williams was serving a life term for killing a cheerleader at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, KTHV reported.

On December 18, 1998, Williams kidnapped Dominique Hurd and her friend at gunpoint and forced them out of their car. Williams shot Hurd in the head, KTHV reported.

On Oct. 3, 1999, Williams escaped from state prison. During his escape, he fatally shot 57-year-old Cecil Boren, who had once worked as a prison warden, KTHV reported. He stole Boren’s pickup truck and then drove to Missouri, where he was arrested after a high-speed chase, KTHV reported.

Williams was sentenced to death in 2000, KARK reported.

The state had planned to put eight men to death before its supply of the sedative midazolam expires on Sunday, the AP reported. Courts issued stays for four of the men who were scheduled to die.

Witnesses in the chamber, including an Associated Press reporter, said Williams lurched 20 times on the gurney before three lethal drugs took his life. The movements were described as “lurching, convulsing, coughing and jerking.”

Shawn Nolan,  one of Williams' attorneys, said in a statement that he is requesting "a full investigation into tonight's problematic execution."

A spokesman for Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told the AP that Williams’ movements were an "involuntary muscular reaction" to one of the drugs used.

Spokesman J.R. Davis said he expects Hutchinson to review the execution.