After many challenges, Arkansas executed their first inmate since 2005. Here is the kicker: the okay was given just hours before his death warrant expired. His time was death was 11:56 pm, and his warrant was to expire at midnight.
He has been on death row since 1993 for the murder of Debra Reese. HE struck her 6 times with a tire iron that her husband had given her for protection, for only $300. He was arrested less than an hour later.
There are more executions scheduled for next week.
The state originally set four double executions over an 11-day period in April. The eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a compressed period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The state said the executions needed to be carried out before its supply of one lethal injection drug expires on April 30. The first three executions were canceled because of court decisions.
Two more inmates are set to die Monday, and one on April 27. Another inmate scheduled for execution next week has received a stay.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Lee’s execution less than an hour before his death warrant was set to expire at midnight, rejecting a round of last-minute appeals the condemned inmate’s attorneys had filed. An earlier ruling from the state Supreme Court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was obtained by misleading the company cleared the way for Lee’s execution.
Arkansas dropped plans to execute a second inmate, Stacey Johnson, on the same day after the state Supreme Court said it wouldn’t reconsider his stay, which was issued so Johnson could seek more DNA tests in hopes of proving his innocence.
So, given his offense, it does not sound like he deserved to be pardoned from execution. However, it must have been torture to know that he was going to die a mere 4 minutes before his death warrant would expire.