GRADY, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Death Penalty debate has always been a heated argument. Many death row inmates across the country claim lethal injection executions leave too much discretion to prison officials in putting inmates to death. And some say there's proof their argument is valid. But others believe the remarks are simply an attempt to eliminate the death penalty altogether.
Inside Varner Supermax Prison sit 40 men described by some as the most dangerous, cold blooded killers in Arkansas.
There's Roger Coulter who was convicted of raping and murdering his five-year-old niece. Andrew Engram who raped and murdered a North Little Rock Mall security guard. And Kenneth Reams, who was involved in the shooting death of a man at Pine Bluff ATM. They're all on death row, waiting for an execution date.
And for 20 years, David Rickard has been fighting for the life of every man on death row.
He says, "I came to it through a ethical and moral standpoint. I didn't feel like the state had a right to kill anybody."
As part of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, he's been through nearly 20 executions.
Rickard explains, "It is not an easy night. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind as someone once said."
Then nine years ago, his mission became personnel.
He says, "We are very good friends now and I look forward to our visits on a regular basis."
Rickard started a relationship with 36-year-old Reams. Reams has been on death row for 19 years.
Once a month, Rickard makes the drive to Varner. It's a three-hour round trip. The pair talks for three hours.
"I put myself in that situation and I think I would have crumbled," adds Rickard.
Rickard says Reems is remorseful. But he wants to make it clear he does not agree with Reems' involvement in the crime.
"Not at all and nor do I condone any of the other crimes for which these men are on the row, but I believe they don't deserve to die."
But many don't agree, arguing convicted murderers like Reems deserve to die. Still, executions likely won't happen in Arkansas any time soon. They've all been put on hold.
Several inmates are part of a lawsuit claiming executions leave too much discretion to prison officials in putting inmates to death.
UALR law Professor, Felecia Epps says their argument is a valid one.
She explains, "There could be certain combinations of drugs that inflict some inappropriate level of pain on the person."
An August ruling though now prevents that. A Pulaski County judge declared that a catchall phrase - "any other chemical or chemicals" - to be used is not constitutional.
Meanwhile, attorneys for the state and the inmates plan to appeal parts of the case before the Arkansas Supreme Court."
Death row inmate Don Davis told THV in 2007, "If society comes to a point where they want a man to suffer or woman to suffer before they die, then we've really fallen."
Davis is part of the lawsuit. THV asked him how he'd chose to be executed.
He replies, "You know I've thought about it, and I don't want to be electrocuted, I'll be the first to tell you that seems pretty painful to me."
But Department of Correction Spokesperson, Dina Tyler says that is an option adding, "The statutes in Arkansas say that if for any reason lethal injection is to be declared unconstitutional, Arkansas reverts back to electrocution."
And Arkansas still has an electric chair that is operational and if need be, can be brought back into service.
Rickard says, "It is a very difficult thought." He knows any method of death is a possibility for his friend Reams and for the others here.
Still he fights. "This is what I chose to do. I am not going to force my standards on anyone else."
Understanding this issue will always be controversial dividing people, on life or death.