Arkansas has executed an inmate for the first time in nearly a dozen years as part of its plan to execute several inmates before a drug expires April 30, despite court rulings that have already spared three men.
Ledell Lee’s execution was the first in the state since 2005. He was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. Thursday, four minutes before his death warrant was due to expire.
Media witnesses to the execution said Lee lost consciousness quickly. They entered the death chamber at 11:40 p.m. CDT and the curtains were drawn back four minutes later, as the first drug (midazolam) entered his body. The entire process took 12 minutes.
Lee, 51, was put on death row for the 1993 death of his neighbor Debra Reese, whom Lee struck 36 times with a tire tool her husband had given her for protection. Lee was arrested less than an hour after the killing after spending some of the $300 he had stolen from Reese.