Arkansas inmate Kenneth Williams lurches, convulses during execution

Justin Greene
April 30, 2017

Kenneth Williams, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m., 13 minutes after the execution began at the Cummins Unit prison at Varner.

Almost 20 years after murdering his first victim, 38-year-old Kenneth Dewayne Williams is set to be executed on Thursday, April 27.

Thursday night, Kenneth Williams was the fourth Arkansas inmate to be put to death, including two inmates who were part of the first double execution in the USA since 2000.

During the trial, the jury found one mitigating circumstance, being that Williams experienced inter-generational family dysfunction. There were no dissents in the court's orders.

State officials have declared the string of executions a success, using terms like "closure" for the victims' families.

The state initially wanted to execute eight inmates this month because the state's midazolam supply expires Sunday, and because Arkansas is unsure it can get another batch as drugmakers increasingly say they don't want their products used in executions. Two others, Jack Jones and Marcel Williams, were executed on Monday in the first double-execution in the US since 2000.

Davis said the state will work on procuring the drug again and will reschedule the executions when the stays and court cases are resolved. Their execution dates will, at the very earliest, come after Arkansas runs out of drugs to kill them. Are they painless? Do they make the prisoner on green mile suffer more than he would have through other methods of execution? A USA district judge ruled against Williams, allowing his execution to proceed.

Williams' lawyers say he has sickle cell trait, lupus and brain damage, and that the combined maladies could subject him to an exceptionally painful execution in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The compressed timeline was because Arkansas' supply of sedatives used in lethal injection expires at the end of the month.

The attorneys seek a full investigation of Williams' execution, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state will conduct only a routine review that's done after every lethal injection. Lee's case saw new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch cast his first vote.

The attorney general's office described Williams' appeal as "procedural gamesmanship" to put off the execution.

Of the eight inmates scheduled to die, the courts issued injunctions staying four of those executions for various reasons.


A total of 31 witnesses walked into the chamber's viewing room to watch Williams' execution.

Hutchinson said he would be downwardly revising his revenue forecast in the current fiscal year by $70 million due to lagging state revenue collections. A federal judge dismissed a challenge to the night's second execution, saying Jones' execution did not appear to be "torturous and inhumane" in violation of constitutional standards.

The inmate breathed heavily through his nose until just after three minutes into his execution, when his chest leaped forward in a series of what seemed like involuntary movements.

But there was no expression on Williams' face. Another said his breathing included "jerky motions".

Williams was sentenced to death for the 1999 killing and robbery of Cecil Boren, 18 days after Williams escaped from prison in Lincoln County, where he was serving a life sentence for killing university cheerleader Dominique Hurd.

After jumping from the barrel, he sneaked along a tree line until reaching Boren's house. In the crash the driver of the other vehicle Michael Greenwood was killed.

"To Kayla Greenwood and the whole Greenwood family, the acts of grace, forgiveness and mercy you demonstrated toward the person who had taken so much from you, by bringing to me in prison my own baby and grandchild, right be fore my scheduled execution".

Jodie Efird, the daughter of one of Williams' victims and a witness to the execution, said that "any kind of movement he had was far less than his victims".

Arkansas opposes a request from attorneys to preserve evidence from the execution on Thursday night of an inmate who lurched and convulsed on the gurney.

Yaw, Greenwood and other family members drove from Missouri to Little Rock so they could meet Jasmine and her daughter and drive them to the prison on Wednesday.

We don't need reasons to pity the one who hurts us. That does not mean that asking you (to) spare Mr. Williams is not the right thing to do.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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