Wednesday, April 26, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Execution, Round 2

Marcel Wayne Williams lived four days longer than Ledell Lee. The two convicted murderers committed terrible crimes in Jacksonville more than 20 years ago. Only Lee, 51, proclaimed his innocence to the end, while Williams, 46, sought a stay of execution only because he said he was too sick to die.

Lee was executed last Thursday night. Williams and another killer, Jack H. Jones, 52, were executed minutes apart on Monday night. Lee sought holy communion when he exhausted his appeals but skipped his final meal. Williams, on the other hand, asked for a full plate of fried chicken, nachos, potato logs, two Mountain Dews and banana pudding. Jones, too, asked for fried chicken and more.

Lee had been in and out of prison since the 1980s, raping and killing whenever he could find helpless victims who were alone or with little children. He was convicted in the brutal beating death of Debra Reese, 26, in February 1993. Having known one of Lee’s rape victims who worked here at The Leader, the details of these horrible crimes are more gruesome and disturbing.

Williams was convicted for a 1994 killing that started with the kidnapping of Stacy Rae Errickson, 22, at a Jacksonville gas station. Williams’ attorneys argued that he had diabetes and was too overweight to be subjected to a lethal injection. Errickson was married to a deployed airman at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Another execution is set for Thursday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had set execution dates for eight Arkansas killers earlier this year, but he might have to settle for half that number. It’s doubtful if there will be others before the cocktail of drugs expire this weekend.

It’s a stunning coincidence that the two murderers connected to Jacksonville were among the first to be executed this month. As far as we’re concerned, after this week, we don’t need more state-sanctioned killings.