Arkansas preps for first U.S. double execution since 2000

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Arkansas executed the first of two inmates scheduled to be put to death on Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant a last-minute reprieve, according to local media reports.

Jack Jones, 52, was pronounced dead at 7:20 CDT (0020 GMT on Tuesday) at the Cummins Unit prison, about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of the state capital, Little Rock, according to reporters who were at the prison for the execution.

Jones was convicted of raping and killing Mary Phillips, 34, in 1995 and trying to murder her 11-year-old daughter.

Officials were preparing to carry out the death sentence for Marcel Williams, 46, who had been tentatively scheduled to die at 8:15 p.m. CDT (0115 GMT on Tuesday) for the 1997 kidnapping, rape and murder of 22-year-old Stacy Errickson.

The back-to-back executions would be the first time in 17 years that a U.S. state put two inmates to death on the same day.

The defendants filed a flurry of appeals with the U.S. Supreme Court and the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday afternoon. Williams’ applications for a stay with both courts remained pending as of 7:30 p.m. CDT (0030 Tuesday).

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Trott)

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