According to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office, seven men are slated to be executed in Arkansas, by lethal injection in the space of only 10 days.
The move to execute the seven men, in pairs, between April 17 and April 27, just 11 days before a lethal injection drug expires, has been slammed as a reckless rush to judgment. However, that’s not how Rebecca Petty sees it.
Petty, a Republican state legislator has waited 17 years for Arkansas to execute the man who murdered her 12 year old daughter. Even though the convicted murderer has been on death row since 2000, he isn’t in the list of the seven men scheduled for execution this time.
Rebecca Petty’s daughter, Andria Nichole Brewer, was raped and murdered by an uncle in May 1999. Her body was found in the woods near her father’s home in Arkansas, after a three-day search.
“There are all these victims’ families out there who have been — I don’t want to say ‘waiting,’ but who have had this hanging over their heads for the last two decades,” said Ms. Petty. “That’s how I look at it.”
The seven men who are scheduled for execution, committed murders between 1989 and 1999; which means victims’ families have been waiting almost 28 years for justice.
“I don’t see it as rushed when a jury sentenced them to death two decades ago,” Ms. Petty said. “To say it’s rushed — from a victim’s point of view, it seems like ‘it’s time.’”
However, the compact time frame has resulted in national outrage from death penalty opponents, who are calling on Gov. Hutchinson to halt the execution, claiming it violates prisoners’ rights and increases the chances of mistakes.
The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ACADP) is outraged by … plans to carry out eight executions within the span of ten days in April,” the organization said. “This planned mass execution is grotesque and unprecedented.”
But even at this late stage, it would not be surprising to see a convict slip the noose. While there were initially eight men scheduled for execution this month, a federal judge last week granted a temporary acquittal to Jason McGehee, ruling he was entitled to a 30-day comment period after the state parole board made a clemency recommendation earlier this month.