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Stop the AR Execution of Kenneth Williams Tonight, and All Other Executions

Abolish the Death Penalty

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UPDATE: Arkansas executed Kenneth Williams at 11:05 p.m. EDT, April 27, 2017. He was the fourth man executed in Arkansas’ eight-day fury to beat this month’s expiration date of the state’s supply of sedative midazolam, used in lethal injection but which its manufacturer refuses to sell for executions.

Such stay denials always tersely worded, the United States Supreme Court proclaimed: “The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Alito and by [Kenneth Williams] referred to the Court is denied. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.”

For twenty seconds during the execution, Williams’s body lurched twenty times, jerked, and convulsed. Barbarity.

The European Union does not have the death penalty, and the sky has not fallen. The United States, though, continues in the wild, wild west tradition of executions of those convicted of murder.

In the wild west, populations were thin; law enforcement agents were few; and courthouses and jails were few and far between. No wonder so many scores and punishments were settled with death in the wild west. Today, we have plenty of police, courthouses, jails and prison, and no need for the death penalty.

Nevertheless, Arkansas this month has rushed to effectuate multiple executions, before their lethal injection drugs’ expiration dates pass. Tonight, April 27, Kenneth Williams is set to be executed, despite his lawyers’ arguments of Williams’s mental disability. The Arkansas government plans not to execute Williams before the United States Supreme Court finally rules — after no other courts have helped him today — and we now have a full complement of four heavily death penalty-enabling justices out of nine, now that Justice Gorsuch has joined the high court, with Justice Kennedy joining the pro-death penalty four this month. Justice Samuel Alito is assigned to the Eighth Circuit, which covers Arkansas. Justice Alito is not a friend of death penalty abolition.

It will not hurt, and might even help, to call Arkansas governor (501-682-2345) (nobody answered after hours and the voicemail box was full at 9:30 p.m.; the online comment page to Governor Hutchinson that I found did not work from my iPhone) and state correction department (870-850-8899) to urge that Kenneth Williams not be executed. (I first called another seeming central Arkansas prison phone number, around 9:30 p.m. April 27, and was ultimately put in touch with a lieutenant, who gave me the above phone number, said Kenneth Williams was clear across the state, and confirmed that he had enough to do with his time taking care of his own prison; his manner of talking was delightfully folksy during this dark time. I then called the phone number provided by the lieutenant, which ended up being the Cummins prison where Kenneth Williams was located. I asked how I could reach the governor to state my objection to executing Mr. Williams, and the answerer would only suggest I Google the information. Not realizing I had called Williams’s prison rather than a centralize public information line, I asked were Williams was being held, the woman answered, I asked her to repeat the name of that prison, and the phone call then went dead; apparently I was hung up on Ninety minutes later, Kenneth Williams was dead, executed by lethal injection.)

POSTSCRIPT: The first paragraph above gives the update of Kenneth Williams’s execution. I relegate here to the deserved bottom Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s post-execution comment:  Williams’s victims families “were finally provided the justice they were promised and they also saw that our system of laws have meaning.”