Demand for Probe as Arkansas Killing Spree Concludes With 'Shaking and Convulsions'

The government of Arkansas concluded its controversial and unprecedented killing spree Thursday night with what many are calling the botched execution of Kenneth Williams, which has prompted demands for an investigation into whether he was unlawfully “tortured” by the state before his death.

According to a timeline released by the the Arkansas Department of Correction, the execution drugs were administered to Williams beginning at 10:52pm CDT and he was pronounced dead at 11:05pm. However, witnesses at the execution said that he appeared to suffer as the lethal drug “cocktail” was administered, prompting one to say that “it looked like something was wrong.”

KATV News reports:

Shawn Nolan, of the Capital Habeaus Unit with the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and one of Williams’ attorneys, issued a statement following Williams’ death describing the accounts of his execution as “horrifying.”

“We tried over and over again to get the state to comport with their own protocol to avoid torturing our client to death,” Nolan said, “and yet reports from the execution witnesses indicate that Mr. Williams suffered during this execution. Press reports state that within three minutes into the execution, our client began coughing, convulsing, jerking, and lurching with sound that was audible even with the microphone turned off. This is very disturbing, but not at all surprising given the history of the risky sedative midazolam, which has been used in many botched executions.”

“What’s important right now, is that all the information about tonight’s execution must be meticulously documented and preserved so that we can discover exactly what happened in that execution chamber,” he continued. “We are requesting a full investigation into tonight’s problematic execution.”