Arkansas: The US Supreme Court cleared the way on Thursday for Arkansas to conduct its first execution in 12 years by removing holds on the lethal injection of a death row inmate, just 30 minutes before the state`s death warrant expired.
The state is set to execute Ledell Lee, 51, at its Cummins Unit in Grady, which houses its death chamber. Lawyers for Lee had filed numerous motions in various courts ahead of the lethal injection that had put the process on hold.
Lee has maintained his innocence for years and was seeking DNA tests his lawyers said could prove his innocence.
Lee was convicted and sentenced to death for beating Debra Reese to death with a tire iron in 1993. Reese`s relatives were at the Cummins Unit prison and told media Lee deserves to die for a crime that ripped their lives apart.
He was to have been one of eight men Arkansas originally planned to execute in 11 days, the most of any state in as short a period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Courts have halted four of those executions.
The state`s plan prompted an unprecedented flurry of legal filings and raised questions about US death chamber protocols and lethal injection drug mixes. Back-to-back executions set for Monday were halted indefinitely.