Despite the legal setback, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge vowed to push forward with five other executions, including those of Ledell Lee and Stacey Johnson, which are scheduled for today. It is unknown how the fledgling judge voted, though the governor's office indicated that all nine justices discussed the issue for hours before coming to a decision.
The brief ruling leaves the state supreme court's stay in effect, sparing Don Davis' life for the time being.
The attorney for Davis and Ward requested stays of execution until the US Supreme Court rules on an upcoming case concerning inmate access to independent mental health experts. The state's Supreme Court also vacated an order blocking the use of the drug vecuronium bromide as part of a lethal-injection protocol.
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Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was "disappointed in this delay for the victim's family", though he noted that no stays now block executions for five other condemned inmates scheduled to die before the month's end.
The US Supreme Court left in place a stay of execution for an Arkansas inmate, refusing to overrule the state supreme court. Ward was convicted in the 1989 death of a Little Rock convenience store clerk.
It has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to put on hold the first of the scheduled lethal injections, of Bruce Earl Ward, after his legal team argued he is a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his impending execution.
Arkansas worked with tight constraints to get U.S. Supreme Court approval to execute a convicted killer on Monday.More news: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz won't run for re-election
McKesson alleges that it filled the state's order for the drug under the notion that ADC would use it for "legitimate medical objective, consistent with Arkansas State Medical Board Regulations", which state in part that licensed physicians can not administer unsafe or controlled drugs to someone for a reason other than a legitimate medical goal.
"The Department of Corrections' attention now shifts to the executions that are scheduled for Thursday", Graves said.
Arkansas had been preparing to proceed with a series of killings this week before its stock of midazolam, one of three drugs used to kill inmates through lethal injection, reaches its expiry date, at the end of the month. Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, no state has executed so many men in such a short time, said Robert Dunham from the Death Penalty Information Center. The Innocence Project joined Johnson's attorneys Monday in filing a request for a stay of execution in the Sevier County Circuit Court. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said it wasn't clear whether the state could acquire additional supplies of the sedative midazolam. Two other inmates are scheduled for execution on Tuesday. The lawyers say Ward has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenia while Davis has an IQ low enough to be considered to have an intellectual disability.
A legal battle over the death sentence in the USA state of Arkansas has seen skirmishes and retreats, but it's not over yet. We will you updated on all the latest execution news. But the judge was taken off the case by the state's Supreme Court and the temporary restraining order was thrown out. Midazolam has been used in a number of high-profile botched executions, including instances where inmates did not appear to be fully sedated when they received the painful second and third drugs in the cocktail.More news: Adityanath wants ministers to declare assets - every year