The Latest: Hutchinson reviewing inmates' clemency bids

AP News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2017 7:58 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on eight upcoming executions in Arkansas (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he's been satisfied that courts have established the guilt of two death row inmates who want their lives spared from scheduled executions next month, but says he'll review the Parole Board's recommendation against clemency for the two.

Hutchinson didn't say Monday when he'd issue a decision on Stacey Eugene Johnson and Ledell Lee, who are scheduled to die April 20. The board told Hutchinson the two inmates' clemency bids were without merit.

The two are among eight inmates scheduled to die under the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four double executions over a 10-day period next month.

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4:30 p.m.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office says a federal lawsuit filed by eight inmates facing execution next month is another attempt to delay justice.

Rutledge spokeswoman Jessica Ray said Monday that the attorney general is reviewing the lawsuit. The inmates are asking a judge to block the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four double executions over a 10-day period starting on April 17.

The lawsuit filed Monday argues that the rushed execution schedule and the state's planned use of a controversial sedative during the executions violates the inmates' constitutional rights. Gov. Asa Hutchinson scheduled the executions to occur before Arkansas' supply of the sedative, midazolam, expires.

Ray said the attorney general will continue to defend Arkansas' method of execution and expects the lethal injections to move forward as scheduled.

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3 p.m.

The Arkansas Parole Board is recommending the governor reject long-shot bids for clemency by two inmates facing lethal injection next month as the state nears an unprecedented four days of double executions over a 10-day period.

The board on Monday said the clemency requests by convicted murderers Stacey Eugene Johnson and Ledell Lee were without merit. The ultimate decision on whether to spare the men's lives rests with Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The Republican governor scheduled the executions last month.

Five of the eight inmates scheduled for execution have asked the Parole Board to spare their lives. Johnson and Lee are set to die April 20. Other double executions are set for April 17, April 24 and April 27.

Arkansas has not carried out an execution since 2005.

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1:40 p.m.

The eight Arkansas inmates scheduled for lethal injection next month are asking a federal judge to block the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four nights of double executions over a 10-day period.

Attorneys for the inmates filed a motion Monday seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent their executions, which are set to begin on April 17.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson scheduled the executions to occur before Arkansas' supply of a controversial sedative expires at the end of April. The sedative, midazolam, is used in the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol and has been used in flawed executions in other states

The inmates argue that the drug and the execution schedule violates their constitutional rights.

Arkansas has not executed an inmate since 2005.