GRADY (KFSM) — Inmate Kenneth Williams was executed by lethal injection on Thursday (April 27) night, reports our CBS affiliate THV11.
Williams was the last death row inmate scheduled to be executed in April. This was the fourth execution in eight days.
On December 18, 1998, Williams kidnapped Dominique Hurd and her friend at gunpoint. He forced them out of their car and after back and forth banter, Williams shot Hurd in the head.
He was charged with capital murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, theft and arson and sentenced to life in prison after being convicted for Hurd’s murder.
On October 3, 1999, while serving his life sentence at the Cummins Unit in Lincoln County, Williams escaped and fatally shot 57-year-old Cecil Boren. Williams dragged Boren’s body to a bayou, stole his truck and several guns and then drove to Missouri where he led police on a high-speed chase.
During the chase, Williams crashed the truck into a water delivery truck driven by 24-year-old Missouri man, Michael Greenwood, who died in the crash.
He was sentenced to death for murdering Boren by a Lincoln County jury in August 2000.
Williams chose Holy Communion as his final meal. He also received the regular inmate meal of two pieces of fried chicken, BBQ baked beans, sweet rices, whole kernel corn, stew seasons tomatoes, two cinnamon rolls, two cookies, four slices of bread and fruit punch.
Governor Asa Hutchinson set executions dates for eight men on death row in February. Hutchinson said “the action is necessary to fulfill the requirement of the law, but it is also important to bring closure to the victims’ families who have lived with the court appeals and uncertainty for a very long time.”
Don Davis, Bruce Ward, Stacey Johnson, Ledell Lee, Jack Jones, Marcel Williams, Jason McGehee and Kenneth Williams were all set to die by lethal injection. Davis, Ward, McGehee and Johnson all received stays of execution. Lee, Jones, Marcel Williams and Kenneth Williams were all executed. Jones and Marcel Williams were executed on the same day making it the first double execution in the United States since 2000.
Hutchinson released the following statement:
“The long path of justice ended tonight and Arkansans can reflect on the last two weeks with confidence that our system of laws in this state has worked. Carrying out the penalty of the jury in the Kenneth Williams case was necessary. There has never been a question of guilt.
In 1999, Williams was serving a life sentence for the murder of 19-year-old Nikki Hurd when he escaped and proceeded to kill again: 57-year-old Cecil Boren, a grandfather and husband to Genie, and a Missouri man, 24-year-old Michael Greenwood. Williams would later confess to the unsolved murder of 36-year-old Jerrell Jenkins, a father and stepfather.
In the last seven days, after decades of waiting, the families of Debra Reese, Christine Lewis, Mary Phillips, Lorraine Anne Barrett, Stacy Errickson, Nikki Hurd, Jerrell Jenkins and Cecil Boren were finally provided the justice they were promised and they also saw that our system of laws have meaning.”
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement on the execution:
“Tonight the rule of law was upheld as the family of Cecil Boren saw justice done. On October 3, 1999, Cecil was simply going about his daily life at his home near the Cummins Prison Unit when he was shot and killed by an escapee who was serving life imprisonment without parole for capital murder. I pray this lawful execution will bring closure and peace to the Boren family.”