Friday, April 28, 2017
The state of Arkansas has been on a killing spree, executing a number of death-row inmates beginning on Easter Monday. The plan is put eight men to death in a matter of a couple of weeks. It is the macabre reality that companies which produce drugs for lethal injections are no longer willing to do so. Arkansas is therefore hurrying up the process despite legal challenges and a remarkable letter from a murder victim's family.
Kayla Greenwood wrote on behalf of her family to the governor of Arkansas asking that Kenneth Williams, the man who killed her father, have his execution stayed. She believes that in the eighteen years since her father's murder Williams has changed, by the grace of God, and that it is the new Williams they wish to save. The Greenwood family actually paid to fly Williams' daughter and granddaughter to see him in prison, and drove them to the institution to do so.
The Greenwoods wanted the opportunity to meet with Williams to offer their forgiveness, and would have spoken at his clemency hearing if they had known it was happening. Sadly, their request went unheeded and Williams was executed. As is so often the case with lethal injections he died a slow and gruesome death. It is a barbaric practice, which is why the drug companies no longer wish to be complicit.
I am grateful to the Greenwoods for their powerful witness, even as they continue to mourn the loss of their loved one.