GRADY, Ark. (KTHV) – Kenneth Williams has been executed by the State of Arkansas. He is the fourth death row inmate and last to be executed over a 7-day span.
Williams was originally convicted for the murder of University of Arkansas Pine Bluff cheerleader Dominique Hurd. While serving a life sentence for that crime, Williams escaped prison by hiding inside a hog, slop-filled tank of a garbage truck. During his escape, Williams shot and killed Cecil Boren at his farm near the Cummins Unit.
He then stole Boren’s pickup truck and a few guns and led police on a high-speed chase into Missouri. At one point during the pursuit, Williams crashed the truck into a water delivery truck, killing the driver, Michael Greenwood.
Williams was once again arrested and sentenced to death for the murder of Boren. In 2005, Williams confessed to killing Jerrell Jenkins the same day he murdered Hurd in Pine Bluff.
After spending years in prison, Williams said he turned a page in his life, becoming an ordained minister to help other death row inmates. At his clemency hearing, he told the board he was not afraid to die.
“God has forgiven me, shows me his love towards us all,” he said. “I can’t undo what’s been done. If I could, I would. Even if it meant my very life.”
The Greenwood family, in an act of kindness, reached out to William’s daughter and bought a plane ticket for her to visit her father one last time. Kayla Greenwood emailed a statement to Williams through his attorney, telling him she had forgave him for the murder of her father.
“When he found out that we are bringing his daughter and granddaughter to see him and that my mom and dad bought the tickets, he was crying to the attorney,” Greenwood said. “He was sad he couldn’t talk to us.
Williams’ execution was set to begin at 7:00 p.m., but the United States Supreme Court temporarily blocked the execution to rule on several appeals. Roughly three hours after he was set to be executed, the Supreme Court denied all appeals. The state moved forward with the execution not long after the ruling was given.
In his final words, Williams said, "I humbly extend my apologies to those families I have senselessly wronged." Williams then said he was not the same person before speaking in tongues.
The injection process started at 10:52 p.m. and he passed around 11:05 p.m. According to the Arkansas Department of Correction, Williams "shook" for 10 seconds, 3 minutes after the lethal injection process began. Media witnesses say there was audible "coughing and jerking" even though the microphone inside death chamber was turned off.
After the injection of midazolam, the media witnesses noted that he "gasped for air" and that "it was clear he was in trouble." They also said there was an audible moan from Williams during the execution process.
One of Cecil Boren's daughters said that any movement by Williams was "nothing compared to the pain felt by his victims."
Kenneth Williams was 38-years-old.
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