LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas suffered two more legal setbacks Wednesday in its bid to carry out multiple executions this month when the state Supreme Court spared one prisoner and a judge later ruled that the state can’t use one of its drugs in any of its executions.
The state originally set eight executions to occur over an 11-day period in April. But Arkansas has encountered multiple legal roadblocks, and the latest ruling from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray over the drug vecuronium bromide upends the entire schedule.
The medical supply company McKesson Corp. had sued to stop Arkansas from using its drug to kill condemned inmates.
Moments earlier, the Arkansas Supreme Court had granted a stay of execution to inmate Stacey Johnson, who had been set to die Thursday. Johnson’s attorneys requested additional DNA testing to prove his innocence.
In its 4-to-3 ruling, the state’s highest court followed the same split it did on Monday, when it halted two other executions involving different inmates.
The other inmate set for execution Thursday, Ledell Lee, also has legal challenges pending before several courts.