New scrutiny of timeline after Arkansas executes 4th inmate

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death-row inmate Kenneth Williams. Arkansas wrapped up an aggressive execution schedule Thursday, April 27, 2017, putting to death its fourth inmate in eight days. Williams, 38, received a lethal injection Thursday night at the Cummins Unit prison at Varner for the death of a former deputy warden killed after Williams escaped from prison in 1999. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP, File)

VARNER, Ark. (AP) — The last of four Arkansas executions over an eight-day period has prompted calls for investigations after the inmate lurched and convulsed while strapped to the gurney.

An Associated Press reporter who witnessed Kenneth Williams’ execution Thursday said that about three minutes into the lethal injection, his body jerked 15 times in quick succession. He lurched violently against the leather chest restraint, then the rate slowed for a final five movements.

One of Williams’ attorneys called the execution “horrifying.” A spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson called it “an involuntary muscular reaction.”

The compressed lethal injection timeline could attract more scrutiny after Williams’ death. Arkansas sought to carry out as many lethal injections as possible before one of its drugs expires Sunday. It executed four prisoners, while four others received court stays.

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