If Ledell Lee's lawyers had succeeded last night in getting a court to stay his execution just half an hour longer, Arkansas's warrant would have expired, and the state would have had to set a new date. Instead, his last appeal ran out at 11:30 p.m., the lethal injection procedure began at 11:44, and Lee was dead by 11:56.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had scheduled a marathon eight executions to take place this week before one of the drugs in their death cocktail expired, effectively putting Arkansas out of the death penalty business. This triggered dozens of lawsuits, attempts by pharmaceutical manufacturers to repossess their drugs from the state, strong protest that the drugs used violate the 8th Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, protest from prison officials, and a massive publicity shitshow.

At least three of the condemned men have been granted stays of execution. But Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge painted Lee's death last night as a moral victory for justice and the legal system.

Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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