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African American in Prison

Source: Doug Berry / Getty

Two convicts filed appeals to halt their executions just hours before they were to be put to death.

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Jack Jones and Marcel Williams had been scheduled for execution by lethal injection in back-to-back sessions that would have happened tonight, Reuters reports. Jones was found guilty for raping and murdering a woman in 1995 and then leaving her daughter for dead. Williams was convicted for the kidnap, rape, and murder of a woman in 1997.

The last time two executions were scheduled in one day in Arkansas was 2000.

Both men filed last-minute appeals with the U.S. Supreme Court this afternoon to stop their executions, but motions like these are not usually approved. They each filed their applications on the grounds that their weight could put them at risk of experiencing and unconditional level of suffering if the drug midazolam is used in their execution.

Outside of these concerns, Jones argues that Arkansa Supreme Court used the wrong standard of review during his trial, when determining whether the jury in his case appropriately suggested the death sentence.

Williams, on the other hand, accuses his previous lawyers not providing adequate evidence of his troubled childhood, which included a history of abuse. He also filed an appeal on Monday with the Arkansas Supreme Court today, stating that the same attorney plagiarized large portions of his appellate brief.

This is not the first time that Jones and Williams have applied to appeal their respective death sentences. However, those past applications were rejected by the Arkansas Supreme Court and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

The Arkansas attorney general’s office asserted that Jones and Williams are simply trying to “manipulate the judicial process” with their new appeals.

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