Arkansas puts Ledell Lee to death, first in series of planned executions

The US state of Arkansas has carried out its first execution in nearly a dozen years, moving ahead with a plan to execute several inmates by the end of this month.

Ledell Lee was put to death at 11:56 pm Thursday, four minutes before his death warrant was due to expire, after the US Supreme Court rejected eleventh-hour appeals to stay the execution.

He was executed by injection of three lethal drugs, including one that has caused controversy.

Lee, 51, was on death row since 1993, when he was arrested and charged with the murder of his neighbor Debra Reese.

Lee maintained his innocence through his lawyers and a state judge threatened to block the state from using one of its execution drugs.

The state Supreme Courtm however, ruled that authorities could use the drug vecuronium bromide that a supplier said the state had obtained by misleading the company.

The ruling allowed Lee’s death sentence to be carried out, making him the first inmate in Arkansas to…

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