The state of Arkansas plans to execute eight inmates over a span of 10 days next month. Governor Asa Hutchinson signed death warrants setting four execution dates for the eight inmates between April 17 and 27. Two men would be put to death on each of the four dates. If Arkansas follows that schedule, it will be the highest number of inmates killed by any state in that short period of time since the United States resumed the death penalty in 1977. The reason?
Because midazolam, a drug used by the state for lethal injections, will expire April 30th . The state, like many other death penalty states, is having trouble finding drugs to put the inmate to sleep before killing them with the following two drugs. People who criticize the use of midazolam in executions say it is a sedative, not an anesthetic.
The critics say when the second and third drugs are injected, the inmate can feel pain from the subsequent lethal drugs. In one high-profile case in Oklahoma, a convict named Clayton D. Lockett, who was injected first with midazolam, died 43 minutes after the injections were started. During that 43 minutes, the inmate appeared to struggle and moan on the table.