Death Row Inmate Kenneth Williams Has Been Put to Death

Williams is the fourth inmate to be put to death in Arkansas in the past 8 days.

Update: 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Death row inmate Kenneth Williams has been executed. His time of death was 11:05 p.m., Thursday, April 27.

Williams was sentenced to death in 2000. While serving time for a double shooting and murder he committed in 1998, he escaped from prison and killed two more people.  At that point, he was put back in prison and sentenced to death. 

Now, nearly two decades later, he has paid the price of his crimes.

In a final statement before his death, Williams talked about his final words, saying,

"You want even understand them because they will be spoken in my spiritual language, in ‘Tongues.’ Tongues are made mention of in the Bible: 1 Corinthians Chapter 14. If it be my fate to die on an execution table shaped like a crucifixion cross, my last words here on earth will be spoken to God above while the ADC and the State of Arkansas work to put my body to death beneath.”

There are no more scheduled death row executions in Arkansas at this time. 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following statement regarding Williams' execution:

“Tonight the rule of law was upheld as the family of Cecil Boren saw justice done. On October 3, 1999, Cecil was simply going about his daily life at his home near the Cummins Prison Unit when he was shot and killed by an escapee who was serving life imprisonment without parole for capital murder. I pray this lawful execution will bring closure and peace to the Boren family.”

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement regarding Williams' execution:

"The long path of justice ended tonight and Arkansans can reflect on the last two weeks with confidence that our system of laws in this state has worked. Carrying out the penalty of the jury in the Kenneth Williams case was necessary. There has never been a question of guilt.

In 1999, Williams was serving a life sentence for the murder of 19-year-old Nikki Hurd when he escaped and proceeded to kill again: 57-year-old Cecil Boren, a grandfather and husband to Genie, and a Missouri man, 24-year-old Michael Greenwood. Williams would later confess to the unsolved murder of 36-year-old Jerrell Jenkins, a father and stepfather.

 

In the last seven days, after decades of waiting, the families of Debra Reese, Christine Lewis, Mary Phillips, Lorraine Anne Barrett, Stacy Errickson, Nikki Hurd, Jerrell Jenkins and Cecil Boren were finally provided the justice they were promised and they also saw that our system of laws have meaning.”

Update:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The U.S. Supreme Court has given the go-ahead to proceed with death row inmate Kenneth Williams' execution.

Williams' execution, originally scheduled for 7 p.m., was placed on hold indefinitely while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed documents. 

As of 7:15 p.m., Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's communications director Judd Deere said the SCOTUS had three documents pending review:

Update:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Two appeals have been filed Thursday afternoon with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Arkansas Death Row Inmate Kenneth Williams, who is scheduled to die tonight by lethal injection.

One of the filings requests a Stay of Execution. The other asks for a Writ of Certiorari.

"Mr. Williams respectfully requests from this Court a stay of execution pending consideration of his petition for a writ of certiorari. That petition seeks review in this Court regarding the refusal of the State of Arkansas to provide Mr. 

Williams a forum to litigate his claim that he is intellectually disabled, and thus categorically ineligible to be put to death," states the request for a stay. "Kenneth Williams is innocent of the death penalty; he is intellectually disabled and thus categorically ineligible to be put to death. He comes before this Court with three petitions, not because a lower tribunal disagreed that he is innocent of death, but because no court has agreed to hear the merits of his claim," adds the writ. 

Earlier Thursday, Williams' attorney filed with the Arkansas Supreme Court an emergency motion for a stay of execution based on a new cruelty claim he filed this morning in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County. On Thursday afternoon, the office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed an 18-page response asking the court to deny Williams' petition.

Williams has cases pending at circuit, state, and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, too. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, there were eight total filings awaiting responses. 

Original story:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A man with three Capital Murder convictions is set to be executed by the State of Arkansas tonight.

Kenneth Williams, 38, was moved into the Cummins Unit on Wednesday afternoon as part of the preparations for his death sentence to be carried out by lethal injection Thursday evening.

Williams will be the third Arkansas Death Row inmate to be executed this week and the fourth this month. Ledell Lee was put to death on April 20, followed by Jack Jones and Marcel Williams on April 24.

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied all requests for a Stay of Execution from Williams, who is scheduled to be put to death at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Williams received a life sentence for murdering UAPB cheerleader Dominique "Nikki" Hurd and Jerrell Jenkins in 1999. Three weeks later, he escaped from the Cummins Unit and killed two men, including Arkansas retiree Cecil Boren. After Williams escaped from Cummins, he shot Cecil seven times in his home, stole his truck and guns and drove to Missouri, where he crashed the car, killing Michael Greenwood. This time, the jury handed down a death sentence.

All of his crimes were described as random with money as the motive.

When Williams appeared at a clemency hearing on March 31, he told the State Parole Board he felt nothing for his victims until about a decade ago when he found God. He told them he wasn't the same person as the one holding the gun and is now an ordained minister.


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