State ex­e­cutes con­victed killer Jones, de­nies last-minute ap­peal

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

Arkansas put to death a con­victed killer on Mon­day night with plans to ex­e­cute a sec­ond in­mate the same night as officials moved to carry out multiple death sen­tences be­fore the ex­pi­ra­tion of a key lethal-in­jec­tion drug.

Jack Harold Jones Jr., 52, was pro­nounced dead at 7:20 p.m. af­ter fed­eral and state courts de­nied a spate of last­minute ap­peals based on his health and the ef­fi­cacy of the state’s three-drug pro­to­col.

The sec­ond pris­oner, 46-year-old Mar­cel Wayne Wil­liams, was slated to die at 8:15 p.m., but won a tem­po­rary stay of ex­e­cu­tion in fed­eral court late Mon­day af­ter his at­tor­neys ar­gued that Jones ap­peared to suf­fer and was “gulp­ing for air.”

De­fense at­tor­neys said the Jones ex­e­cu­tion “ap­peared to be tor­tu­ous and in­hu­mane,” a claim that the Arkansas At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice dis­missed as “ut­terly base­less.”

The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported that the Jones ex­e­cu­tion went smoothly.

“There were no ap­par­ent signs of com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing the ex­e­cu­tion,” the AP re­ported. “Jones was pro­nounced dead at 7:20 p.m., about 14 min­utes af­ter the pro­ce­dure be­gan. His chest stopped mov­ing two min­utes af­ter a con­scious­ness check.”

Jones had ac­knowl­edged his guilt in the 1995 mur­der and rape of Mary Phillips, a 34-year-old book­keeper who was found with a cof­fee-pot cord tied around her neck at her of­fice.

Her 11-year-old daugh­ter Lacy Phillips, who had ac­com­pa­nied her mother to work, was found badly beaten but sur­vived.

“This evening, Lacey Phillips Manor and Darla Phillips Jones have seen jus­tice for the bru­tal rape and mur­der of their mother, Mary Phillips,” said Arkansas At­tor­ney Gen­eral Les­lie Rut­ledge in a state­ment.

Arkansas would be the first state to carry out back-to-back ex­e­cu­tions since Texas did so in 2000.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchin­son is­sued an ex­e­cu­tion or­der in Fe­bru­ary for eight in­mates to be put to death be­tween April 17-27, but four have re­ceived stays of ex­e­cu­tion that will push their cases be­yond April 30, the ex­pi­ra­tion date of the state’s doses of the seda­tive mi­da­zo­lam.

Jones was the sec­ond in­mate to be ex­e­cuted un­der the con­densed timetable af­ter Ledell Lee, 51, who was put to death Thurs­day at the Cum­mins unit of the state Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tion.

“A gov­er­nor never asks for this re­spon­si­bil­ity, but I ac­cept it as part of the solemn pledge I made to up­hold the law. Jack Jones ex­pressed his will­ing­ness to pro­ceed to­day, and we hope this will help bring clo­sure to the Phillips fam­ily,” said Mr. Hutchin­son in a state­ment late Mon­day.

Lee’s was the first ex­e­cu­tion in Arkansas since 2005 as a re­sult of a le­gal bat­tle over the state’s lethal-in­jec­tion pro­to­col, which was re­solved in the state’s fa­vor on Feb. 21, leav­ing just 10 weeks to carry out ex­e­cu­tions

State officials have been un­able to pro­cure ad­di­tional sup­plies of the seda­tive mi­da­zo­lam, the first of three drugs used in the pro­to­col, as a re­sult of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies in­creas­ingly re­fus­ing to pro­vide prod­ucts for ex­e­cu­tions.

McKes­son Med­i­cal-Sur­gi­cal Inc. has fought to force the state to re­turn sup­plies of an­other drug, ve­curo­nium bro­mide, ar­gu­ing that the prod­uct was pro­vided on the con­di­tion that it be used for le­git­i­mate med­i­cal pur­poses only.

The meal re­quested by Jones was three pieces of fried chicken, potato logs with tar­tar sauce, beef jerky bites, three But­terfin­ger bars, a choco­late milkshake with But­terfin­ger bits and fruit punch, ac­cord­ing to the Arkansas Times.

Wil­liams was con­victed of rap­ing and mur­der­ing 22-year-old Stacy Er­rick­son af­ter kid­nap­ping her from a Jack­sonville gas sta­tion and forc­ing her to with­draw money from sev­eral ATMs in 1994.

Wil­liams’ last meal was three pieces of fried chicken, ba­nana pud­ding, na­chos with chili cheese and jalapenos, and potato logs with ketchup, the Times re­ported.

Ear­lier, at­tor­neys for Wil­liams ar­gued that he was too over­weight at 400 lbs. to be put to death, while Jones said his med­i­cal prob­lems, in­clud­ing di­a­betes, made him too un­healthy, both con­tend­ing that their phys­i­cal is­sues would cause them to suf­fer dur­ing the lethal-in­jec­tion process.

The 8th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals said in its rul­ing deny­ing Jones’s motion that wit­nesses said “at no time did Lee show any signs of phys­i­cal distress, such as gasp­ing, groan­ing or strug­gling against the re­straints.”

“The ev­i­dence that Jones pro­vides re­gard­ing his spe­cific med­i­cal con­di­tions falls short of dis­tin­guish­ing him­self from Lee or any other in­mates, and it fails to demon­strate that the pro­to­col will cre­ate a demon­strated risk of se­vere pain if ap­plied to him,” said the court.

The last in­mate fac­ing ex­e­cu­tion be­fore the April 30 ex­pi­ra­tion dead­line is Ken­neth De­wayne Wil­liams, who is slated to be put to death Thurs­day for the 1999 slay­ing of Ce­cil Boren.

He killed Boren af­ter break­ing out of prison, where he had been serv­ing a life sen­tence for the mur­der of Univer­sity of Arkansas stu­dent Do­minique “Nikki” Hurd.

● This ar­ti­cle was based in part on wire-ser­vice re­ports.


Jack Jones (left) was ex­e­cuted by the state of Arkansas via lethal in­jec­tion on Mon­day night. Mar­cel Wil­liams was also slated for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment that night.

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