Arkansas inmate asks 2 courts to spare his life

They also filed a petition on Williams' behalf Tuesday in federal court asking U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright to reopen a federal petition originally filed in 2007 - and that she denied in 2008 - and grant a stay of execution until the issues are decided. If Williams is put to death, it would be the fourth execution for Arkansas since April 20. According to state law, six to 12 "respectable citizens" must be present to verify the execution occurred. "As a result, he is now imprisoned under an illegal death sentence set to be carried out within a matter of days".

"As we move forward, we must continue to ask our governor, our judicial officials and all our elected representatives to do a much better job of working together to protect the lives and the dignity of all".

Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over an 11-day period before one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April, the most in such a compressed period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

The state released the names of the citizen witnesses a day after each execution.

One inmate was put to death last week, though the first three executions were cancelled because of court rulings. The inmates have died within 20 minutes of their executions beginning, a contrast from midazolam-related executions in other states that took anywhere from 43 minutes to two hours.

Ledell Lee, convicted of killing his neighbour in 1993, was put to death on 21 April.

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Williams was serving a life sentence for the 1998 murder of 19-year-old student and cheerleader Dominique Hurd when he escaped the penitentiary on October 3, 1999 by hiding in a tank used to carry kitchen scraps.

Kenneth Williams, 38, is set to die for killing a former deputy warden following an escape. He killed Boren, stole guns and Boren's truck and then drove away to Missouri. It was while being chased by police that his auto ploughed into Mr Greenwood's vehicle killing him.

After he committed his second murder and attempted to flee at high speed he slammed his vehicle into one driven by delivery man Michael Greenwood, 24, killing him.

A day after convicting Williams, the jury heard additional testimony in the sentencing phase of the trial and on August 30, 2000, sentenced Williams to death.

"The real practitioners of the death penalty have always been the 10 southern states that practiced slavery, Arkansas among them".

A footnote of the state's response to the renewed effort noted that, "interestingly", Little Rock attorney Jeff Rosenzweig, who has represented Williams in all his previous appeals, his clemency requests and his lethal-injection challenges, hasn't represented Williams in "any of the belatedly filed litigation alleging mental retardation". Williams still has claims pending at the US Supreme Court.

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On Thursday, Hutchinson responded to the clemency request.

Hutchinson said in a statement that while he appreciated Greenwood's "genuine spirit of forgiveness and compassion", he had to consider viewpoints from other victims' families, including Boren's. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, there were eight total filings awaiting responses.

"Kenneth Williams murdered multiple people, and actions have consequences", the governor said.

Michael Greenwood's widow Stacey and Greenwood's step-father then flew Jasmine and her daughter from Washington to Little Rock, Arkansas.

"We wanted that time for him and his daughter and granddaughter", Ms Greenwood said. The filings are among several appeals from Williams' attorneys aimed at halting his execution. But that complaint was denied and dismissed Thursday evening. Williams is scheduled to die Thursday night for killing a different man after breaking out of prison. Excerpts of the letters were published in essay form this month by Vice and The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that covers the USA criminal justice system. His family says it has endured considerable pain but that Williams' death would cause additional suffering.

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