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A motorist passes by the entrance to the Cummins Unit prison near Varner, Ark., on Thursday, April 27, 2017. The state scheduled the execution of Kenneth Williams for Thursday night. It would be the state's fourth execution in an eight-day period. (AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel)

Arkansas executed its fourth death row inmate in seven days


UPDATE April 28th: Kenneth Williams on Thursday became the fourth convicted killer executed in Arkansas in a week after the state compressed the timelines for executions because its supply of sedatives will expire at the end of the month.

Lawyers for Kenneth Williams are demanding an investigation as witnesses claim his body jerked and lurched violently during the execution. A spokesman for the governor's office called the movements "an involuntary muscular reaction."

The inmates had argued that the drug, midazolam, isn't guaranteed to prevent a painful death, but the state supreme court denied the claim. Ledell Lee, 51, Jack Jones, 52, and Marcel Williams, 46, were put to death starting April 20.

ORIGINAL STORY: Arkansas conducted its first execution in nearly a dozen years after a flurry of legal challenges that had spared three convicted killers.

Ledell Lee, 51, was executed by lethal injection Thursday night for killing a woman in 1993.

The injection started at 11:45pm. Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56.

Lee receieved injections of three drugs: midazolam, to render him unconscious; vecuronium bromide, to halt his breathing; and potassium chloride, to stop his heart.

His execution did not come without controversy.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear five last-minute appeals by Lee's attorneys to stay his execution. He declined to make a final statement, officials said. Arkansas looks to put two more inmates to death Monday, and one next Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

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