HARRISON, Ark.–Eight Men on Arkansas’ death row are scheduled for execution in April. Among them is Jason McGehee, who was sentenced to death for killing a teenager, John Melbourne in 1997.

The executions will mark the first time someone has died from lethal injection in Arkansas since 2005. John Melbourne’s family have been waiting 15 years for closure.

In 1997 John Epps was the first of three people to stand trial for the killing of 15-year-old John Melbourne. Epps and another teen, Ben McFarland were sentenced to life in prison. The third person, Jason McGehee was sentenced to death.

Bill Melbourne, the cousin of John Melbourne says,”with all the appeals that he has done and trying to get the death penalty taken out. It’s been hard for the family.”

He says the last two decades, waiting for McGehee’s execution have been a roller coaster for his family and they are ready for justice.

Melbourne says,” it will give us some closure that we’ve greatly needed. He was 15 when it happened, today he would be 36, 37 years old. It’s a hard thing for us to swallow.”

According to testimony, McGehee was the leader of a group of teens, including 15-year-old John Melbourne. They were involved in several petty crimes in Harrison like passing fake and stolen checks. Melbourne was picked up by police while attempting to pass one of those checks. McGehee accused him of talking or snitching to police. He and the two other teens kidnapped Melbourne and tortured him. First in Harrison and then at this shed in Omaha. They all took turns strangling him to death.

He says, “It’s real hard to hear how, what they did to him for eight hours. I couldn’t imagine going through what he went through.”

Melbourne knows McGehee’s execution won’t bring his cousin back, but he says after 20 years of waiting it will bring some relief for the family.

He says, “If it does happen, I think the family, there will be some closure for us knowing some justice has been done.”

Five out of the eight inmates scheduled to be executed next month have asked the Governor for clemency. McGehee is part of that group. The Arkansas Parole Board has set a clemency hearing for each of the five inmates this next week. 

We will keep you updated.