U.S. Supreme Court upholds stay of execution in Arkansas

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(AP Photo/Kelly P. Kissel).

The AP past year used redacted drug labels to identify Hospira, which was purchased by Pfizer, as the likely manufacturer of Arkansas' vecuronium bromide.

After not executing anyone since 2005, Arkansas had scheduled eight executions in 10 days, starting April 17, Easter Monday.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has lifted an order that effectively blocked the state's plan to execute eight men by the end of the month, but a stay remains in place for two inmates facing executions Monday night.

A death row inmate in the USA state of Arkansas ate what could be his last meal on Monday amid legal wrangling over his fate.

The high court gave no explanation for its ruling, but said it would not lift an order made by the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday to stop the executions of two inmates set to be put to death that night. Ward's attorneys have argued he is a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his impending execution, and the Arkansas high court already had issued one stay for Ward after a Jefferson County judge said she didn't have the authority to halt Ward's execution.

The sedative used by Arkansas in the lethal injection process expire at the end of the month and state officials say they have no replacement.

His attorney sought a stay of execution, and on Monday, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted a delay in the executions of Davis and another inmate, Bruce Ward.

The move comes as Griffen prohibited the state from using a lethal injection drug a supplier said was misleadingly obtained. That case, McWilliams v. Dunn, is scheduled for oral arguments on April 24.

His attorneys have separately asked a federal judge to consider claims that Lee has fetal alcohol syndrome, brain damage and an intellectual disability. "The families are entitled to closure and finality of the law".

The court's decision was the second time Don Davis has been granted a reprieve shortly before execution - he came within hours of death in 2010.

However, the state continued to face a roadblock to its execution plans for both Ward and Davis in the form of a stay from local courts that was affirmed by the supreme court of Arkansas, the top legal panel in the state.

The European Union on Wednesday urged Hutchinson to commute the death-row inmates' sentences. She was killed in her home after Davis broke in and shot her with a.44-calibre revolver he found there. The drug has been at the center of several botched executions in recent years, although the US Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma's protocol, which included the drug.

Ward's attorneys say he's a diagnosed schizophrenic with no rational understanding of his impending execution.

The court battles are playing out on multiple fronts as the state's supply of midazolam expires on April 30.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has thrown out a temporary restraining order that ordered the return of one of the execution drugs.

All of the executions were back on schedule, until the state's Supreme Court delayed the two executions planned for Monday night.

According to its complaint filed with the Pulaski County court, McKesson discovered that the drug was to be used for executions and demanded the state return the drug, promising a refund.

Giffen participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration before and after issuing the ruling Friday.

That US District Court judge had ruled that the prisoners will likely succeed in demonstrating the state's proposed method of lethal injection is unconstitutional.

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