Arkansas will resume lethal injections after a 10-year gap starting next month with the first of four double executions, Gov. Asa Hutchinson says. The state hasn't executed an inmate since 2005, largely because of court challenges to its lethal-injection law and a nationwide shortage of drugs often used during executions. But last week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge requested execution dates for eight inmates because their appeals had been exhausted, and prison officials said they had an adequate supply of lethal-injection drugs. Hutchinson set four dates through January but acknowledged that challenges are likely.
The first two executions are scheduled Oct. 21 for inmates Bruce Earl Ward and Don William Davis. Ward, a former perfume salesman, was convicted in the 1989 killing of 18-year-old Rebecca Doss. Davis, who had an execution date set in 2006 that was later stayed, was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of a woman during a burglary. The state has had multiple executions in the past, including triple executions in 1994 and 1997. At the time, the state Department of Correction said multiple executions reduced stress on prison staff. (A Tennessee judge recently upheld the state's lethal-injection process.)