Arkansas governor disappointed by court ruling

Ledell Lee's lethal injection Thursday capped a chaotic week of legal wrangling that left Arkansas scrambling to salvage any part of its attempt to execute eight men before one of its drugs expires at the end of April.

Stacey Johnson was convicted of the sexual assault and murder of Carol Heath in 1993, who was killed in her home while her 6-year old daughter watched.

Two court rulings dealt a blow to the USA state of Arkansas in its attempt to put to death seven inmates within days.

"Arkansas' decision to rush through the execution of Mr". In that order, the state Supreme Court did not elaborate on its reasoning.

"It is understandable that the inmates are taking every step possible to avoid the sentence of the jury; however, it is the court's responsibility to administer justice and bring conclusion to litigation", Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

Arkansas carried out its first execution in almost 12 years using a protocol that includes three drugs, two of which are used in surgery and one that benefits cardiac patients.

But Arkansas' attorney general, Leslie Rutledge, has pledged to overcome the stays and haul Ward and Davis back into the death chamber.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said he took issue with the state trying to use the drugs before their expiration date.

An eighth inmate, Jason McGehee, previously won a stay from a federal judge regarding his clemency schedule, and Arkansas has not appealed that ruling.

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"Unless the prisoner is unconscious, then drugs two and three will cause pain - torturous punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and state guarantees against cruel and unusual punishment", said Jeffrey Rosenzweig, an attorney for three of the inmates.

All executions are on hold in the state of Arkansas after a judge issued a restraining order on a key lethal injection drug Wednesday. McKesson Corp., a medical supply company, said the state misleadingly bought the drug and that it wasn't intended for executions. One of them was a 5-4 decision in which new Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with the four other conservative justices in denying the motion, while the court's liberals dissented. Ledell Lee, who had also been scheduled for execution Thursday, is still seeking a stay in a separate case. Arkansas hasn't executed anyone since 2005. One of those cases spared Don Davis, who again received a stay Monday night.

The state had planned to executive the inmates in four pairs over 10 days.

The judge facing re-election, Courtney Goodson, lost her bid for chief justice a year ago after conservative groups blanketed the state with ads attacking her.

Another state Supreme Court ruling earlier in the day allowed officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says Arkansas obtained by misleading the company.

Circuit Judge Alice Gray on Wednesday ordered the state to not use one of its execution drugs in executions set for Thursday night and next week.

Even if Arkansas wins reversals at the state level, the eight inmates who were scheduled to be put to death this month have three requests for reprieves at the U.S. Supreme Court. Its lawyers filed paperwork with the state Supreme Court on Thursday morning asking it to order her to submit a formal order.

That leaves five men set for execution in an eight-day period starting Thursday.

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