GRADY, Ark. (KTHV) – The State of Arkansas has completed the first double execution in the United States since 2000 with the executions of Jack Jones Jr. and Marcel Williams. It is the first double execution for the state since 1999.
In recent pleas to state and federal courts, the two inmates said the three drug cocktail Arkansas uses could have been ineffective because of their poor health.
Jones lost a leg due to his diabetes while Williams weighs 400 pounds and is diabetic as well. Both argued it would be hard for the execution team to find a suitable vein to support an intravenous line.
Lawyers for the state said the inmates scheduled for execution filed an “avalanche” of lawsuits in hopes to stay their executions. Attorneys for the inmates said their hands were forced.
“If there was an ‘avalanche’ of litigation, as the state complains, that’s because the state created an avalanche of execution dates,” Julie Vandiver wrote.
Williams was convicted for the 1994 murder and rape of 22-year-old Stacy Errickson. He later admitted to the crime, as well as attacking other women. At his clemency hearing, Williams said he wish he could have taken back Errickson’s death and said, “to those I hurt, I’m sorry is not enough.”
His 8th grade teacher, Suzanne Ritchie, remembers Williams as skinny 14-year-old with a “big smile and desperate eyes.” In his youth, Williams was both abused and neglected by his mother.
Three lawmen who helped to convict Jones can still recall the vivid details two decades after the 1995 rape and murder of 34-year-old Mary Phillips and brutal assault of her daughter Lacy.
“I was doing the photographs and at the time I thought that [Lacy] was deceased,” recalled Bill Lindsey, a former chief investigator for the White County Sheriff’s Office. “That’s what I had been told and then when I took the picture, with the flash, I saw her look up with that one eye.”
Lacy was found in a closet tied to a chair, covered in blood. She helped investigators to identify Jones and later help convict him during the trial.
The two inmates had similar last meals. Jones had three pieces of fried chicken, potato logs with tartar sauce, three Butterfingers, a chocolate milkshake, and fruit punch. Williams requested three piece of fried chicken, potato logs with ketchup, nachos with chili cheese and jalapenos, and two Mountain Dews.
Jones was injected at 7:06 p.m. and passed around 7:20 p.m. In Jones' last words he said, "I can't believe I did something to her. I am not a monster."
Media witnesses say his lips and chest were still moving once the drugs were administered. Jack Jones was 52-years-old.
Attorneys for Williams were granted a temporary stay by Judge Kristine Baker after they argued Jones' execution had complications. Around 9:30 p.m., Baker lifted the stay and the state began preparations to execute Williams.
Williams refused to give a final statement. His execution began at 10:16 p.m. and he passed after 17 minutes. Media witnesses say that his lips "grimaced" roughly four minutes after the injection, but couldn't elaborate if it had indicated any pain. Marcel Williams was 46-years-old.