While no time estimate was provided on when executions may continue in Arkansas, the office of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said it is working with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) to “ensure justice.”
U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker with the Eastern District of Arkansas ruled June 1 that Arkansas could continue with a three-drug protocol – midazolam, vercuronium bromide, and potassium chloride – to administer a death sentence by lethal injection. The ruling allows state officials to set, and reset in some cases, execution dates for death row inmates.
“As the Attorney General, I enforce the laws in the State and bring justice for families who have long been devastated at the hands of these murderers. Today’s final judgment reaffirms the constitutionality of Arkansas’s execution protocol.” Rutledge said following the June 1 ruling.
The AG’s office told Talk Business & Politics that death row inmates Don Davis, Jack Greene, Stacey Johnson, Timothy Kemp and Bruce Ward “have exhausted the legal process and are eligible for execution.” Ward, 63, was sentenced Oct. 18, 1990. Davis, 57, was sentenced March 6, 1992. Greene, 65, was sentenced July 1, 1999. Johnson, 50, was sentenced Sept. 23, 1994. Kemp, 59, was sentenced Dec. 2, 1994.
The AG’s office would not provide details on execution date discussions or provide a time frame for when executions might begin.
“The Attorney General is working closely with the Governor and the Arkansas Department of Correction to ensure justice for the victims and their families,” noted a statement from AG Communications Director Amanda Priest.
Greene was set to be executed in November 2017, but received a last-minute reprieve from the Arkansas Supreme Court based on a need to assess his mental competency. Greene was convicted for the 1991 murder of 69-year old Sidney Burnett, a preacher living in Knoxville in Johnson County.
Gov. Hutchinson in 2017 set execution dates two at a time over an 11-day period starting April 17 and ending April 27. However, stays of executions were granted for Davis, Ward, and Johnson. Eventually executed that year were Ledelle Lee (April 20), Marcel Williams and Jack Jones (April 24) and Kenneth Williams (April 27).
According to the ADC, there are 30 people on death row. Of those, 15 are white, 14 are black and one is Hispanic.