- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Latest on Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson setting execution dates for eight inmates on death row (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Arkansas is asking the state Supreme Court to clarify that it has lifted stays on the executions of eight death row inmates, accusing attorneys for the men of trying to manufacture a procedural loophole.

Rutledge’s office said Monday it still believed the court had lifted the stays of the eight men who are scheduled to be executed in April. But Rutledge’s office said it was asking for the clarification “out of an abundance of caution.”

Attorneys for the inmates have argued that the stay of executions are still in effect since an amended complaint over the state’s lethal injection law is pending in Pulaski County circuit court.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson earlier Monday scheduled execution dates for the eight inmates, but the state lacks one of the drugs needed to put them to death.

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4:45 p.m.

If Arkansas executes eight prisoners in April, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson has scheduled, the state would become only second to put that many prisoners to death in a month. Texas did so twice in 1997.

Hutchinson set four double-executions between April 17 and April 27. Three years ago in Oklahoma, the scheduling of two executions in one night was cited as a possible source of trouble after Clayton Lockett writhed against his restraints in a 43-minute execution in 2014. The second execution set for the same night was postponed.

In a state analysis, a review team said the stress level at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary was higher than normal because, for the first time since 2000, two executions were set for one night. The reviewers recommended that Oklahoma execute no more than one person in a week.

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4:25 p.m.

Attorneys for eight inmates scheduled to be executed over a 10-day period in April argue that a stay on their executions hasn’t been lifted.

The attorneys made the argument in a letter sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday. They noted that an amended lawsuit challenging the state’s execution protocol was filed Friday and is pending before a state court.

The governor scheduled the executions later Monday, even though the state is lacking one of the drugs needed to put them to death. Double-executions are scheduled on April 17, April 20, April 24 and April 27.

In the letter, the attorneys argue that the state’s current execution protocol is almost certain to cause the prisoners “excruciating suffering.” They said the letter served as their comment on the execution dates.

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2:20 p.m.

Arkansas’ governor has scheduled eight executions over a 10-day period in April.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed proclamations on Monday to schedule four double-executions for eight death row inmates starting on April 17. Two convicted murderers are scheduled for lethal injection that day: Bruce Earl Ward and Don William Davis.

The other scheduled executions are on April 20 for Ledelle Lee and Stacey Eugene Johnson, April 24 for Marcel W. Williams and Jack Harold Jones, and April 27 for Kenneth D. Williams and Jason F. McGehee.

Hutchinson set the dates just days after the state’s attorney general told him the inmates had exhausted their appeals.

The state lacks one of the three drugs needed to put the men to death, but Hutchinson’s office said it’s confident the state will find a new supply.

Arkansas hasn’t executed a death row inmate since 2005.

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1:45 p.m.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set execution dates for eight death row inmates, even though the state lacks one of three drugs needed to put the men to death.

The Republican released a statement Monday saying he signed a proclamation scheduling executions for the eight inmates, though no dates were released.

The move comes days after the state’s attorney general told the governor the men had exhausted their appeals and there were no more legal obstacles to their executions.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected inmates’ request to review a state court ruling upholding Arkansas’ lethal injection law.

Prison officials say they haven’t replaced a lethal injection drug that expired in January.

Arkansas hasn’t executed a death row inmate since 2005.

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