Arkansas executes death row inmate Ledell Lee

21 Avril, 2017, 20:42 | Author: Claudine Rigal
  • Ledell Lee

He was executed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. CT Thursday, the Associated Press confirmed.

Lawyers for Lee, 51, who had maintained his innocence for years, had launched last-minute appeals to halt the execution with federal courts and the Supreme Court.

On February 9, 1993, 26-year-old Debra Reese was sexually assaulted and murdered in her own home.

"I pray this lawful execution helps bring closure for the Reese family", Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement. "This assembly line of executions must stop and this cruel and inhuman punishment should be ended once and for all".

He requested the Holy Communion as his last meal, and declined to make a final statement, the Arkansas Department of Correction said.

A spokesman for Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, who scheduled the multiple executions, said: "Justice was carried out". "Justice was carried out".

"It is inappropriate for the state to rush to execute before a defendant's innocence claim can be properly examined", said Nina Morrison, a senior staff attorney with the Innocence Project. The state originally scheduled an unprecedented eight executions within an 11-day window, but several are now tied up in the courts.

The court also, however, stayed a lower court's injunction on Thursday afternoon that was preventing the state from being able to use one of the three drugs it uses in its execution protocol.

Lawyers for the state have complained that the inmates are filing court papers just to run out the clock on Arkansas' midazolam supply.

Arkansas executes Ledell Lee, first execution since 2005 for the state

Hikma also wrote letters to the Correction Department previous year seeking the return of its drugs.

Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over an 11-day period before the end of April, when its supply of a different lethal injection drug expires. OH officials allegedly inquired about drugs through its mental health department, and Texas allegedly used a drug registration number for a long-shuttered prison hospital.

McKesson Medical Surgical Inc. argued its vecuronium bromide was intended only for medical purposes, not executions, and that the Arkansas Department of Corrections "misled" the company when it purchased the drug, according to a court brief.

Five justices would have blocked the executions by granting one of the inmate's requests to halt them.

The Arkansas attorney general's office says it won't appeal an order halting the execution of Stacey Johnson. One of the drugs in the Arkansas mix, midazolam, had been used in flawed executions in Oklahoma and Arizona, where witnesses said the inmates appeared to twist in pain on death-chamber gurneys. The pharmaceutical companies say there is a public health risk if their drugs are diverted for use in executions, and that the state's possession of the drugs violates rules within their distribution networks. No one from the state would say why they wanted the lawsuit removed from Pulaski County or why they preferred to have the case heard in Faulkner County Circuit Court.

Johnson and Lee had both said they were innocent. They've asked that the court allow new DNA testing of a hair found at the scene and a drop of blood found on Lee's shoe.

Reese's relatives were at the Cummins Unit prison and told local news media Lee deserves to die for a crime that upended their lives.

"The spokesman, Solomon Graves, said the two are being held in separate cells adjacent to the execution chamber, which is a short drive down the road from the Varner Unit, another prison that houses death-row inmates".

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