Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 12:50 am EDT
The Supreme Court of the United States refused to overturn the stay of execution granted to Don Davis. His execution will not be carried out on April 17, 2017.
Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017 9:43 pm EDT
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has also overturned the ruling of US District Judge Kristine Baker. Judge Baker had blocked all executions by ruling that midazolam had the potential to cause a cruel and unusual death in violation of the 8th Amendment. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the evidence presented did not adequately support Judge Baker's conclusion. However, the ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals does not affect the ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which has stayed Monday's execution of Don Davis and Bruce Ward. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is appealing the stay granted by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017 6:10 pm EDT
The Arkansas Supreme Court, by a vote of 4-3, has granted a stay of execution to Don Davis, hours before his scheduled execution. Don was granted a stay as he is part of case about to go before the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the rights of inmates to have access to independent mental health experts. The Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing the case on April 24, 2017.
Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017 5:00 pm EDT
Arkansas is continuing to follow the procedures leading up to an execution, such as moving Don Davis to solitary confinement near the execution chamber, despite the possibility that the execution will not proceed. On Friday, Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen issued a temporary restraining order to prevent Arkansas from using one of its lethal injection drugs, vecuronium bromide, due to protests by the drug company who originally the sold the drug to Arkansas. They have since withdrawn their complaint. On Friday, the same day the Judge Griffen issued his order that Arkansas could not use the drugs, meaning no executions could take place, Judge Griffen participated in a death penalty protest, mimicking a death row inmate strapped to a gurney to be executed. Judge Griffen has also been outspoken in his disapproval of the death penalty. Following his order, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, who ruled earlier today that Judge Griffen was to be removed from all death penalty and lethal injection cases immediately and the cases were to be reassigned. Additionally, Judge Griffen was referred by the Arkansas Supreme Court to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to determine if he had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Arkansas Supreme Court has not lifted Judge Griffen's ban on the use of vecuronium bromide.
On Saturday, April 15, 2017, US District Judge Kristine Baker placed a blanket temporary injunction on all executions in Arkansas, following arguments from lawyers for the inmates that midazolam had the potential to cause a cruel and unusual death. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed and appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the challenge of midazolam was without merit because it had already been decided by other court cases.
Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017 3:50 pm EDT
Don William Davis is scheduled to be executed on, Monday, April 17, 2017, at the Cummins Unit near Varner, Arkansas. Fifty-four-year-old Don is convicted of the murder of 62-year-old Jane Martha Daniel in Rogers, Arkansas on October 12, 1990. Don has spent the lat 24 years of his life on Arkansas’ death row.
Don had a history of alcohol and psychoactive substance abuse. He also had a difficult and deprived childhood and was noted to have had a learning disability and a hyperactivity disorder.
On October 12, 1990, Don Davis broke into the home of Jane Daniel. Jane was discovered later that evening by her husband in the storeroom of the house. Jane had been shot once in the head, causing her death. Several items were also missing from the home including cash and jewelry. The gun used in the murder was stolen from the home of Jane’s neighbor. Davis had committed a series of burglaries prior to murdering Jane.
Davis was later arrested by police in Las Vegas. Several of the stolen items were found in Davis’ possession.
Don Davis was scheduled to be executed on October 21, 2015. His execution was stayed, along with several others, by a judge with the Pulaski County Circuit Court. The execution was stayed due to legal challenges regarding the execution drugs.
Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen has issued a temporary restraining order to prevent Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug, vecuronium bromide, in the upcoming scheduled executions. Vecuronium bromide is a muscle relaxant and the second drug used in the lethal injection process. According to the medical company who supplied the drug, the drug was sold under the guise of being used for medical purposes. Upon discovering the drug was to be used in executions, the drug company requested that the drug be returned. The state allegedly agreed to return the drug and a refund was issued, however the drug was never returned. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed an emergency request to vacate Judge Griffen’s order, however, the drug company has since withdrawn their complaint. Judge Griffen has since had all of his death penalty cases reassigned by the Arkansas Supreme Court and referred him to the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to determine if he has violated judicial conduct rules by participating in a death penalty protest on Friday, April 14, 2017. During the protest, Judge Griffen mimicked a death row inmate by lying, strapped down, to a gurney, as if to be executed. Judge Griffen has previously announced his personal opposition to the death penalty.
On Saturday, April 15, 2017, US District Judge Kristine Baker placed a blanket temporary injection on all executions in Arkansas, following arguments from lawyers for the inmates that midazolam had the potential to cause a cruel and unusual death. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has filed and appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the challenge of midazolam was without merit because it had already been decided by other court cases.
Bruce Earl Ward was also scheduled to be executed in Arkansas on October 21, 2015. Bruce's execution was scheduled to begin at 8 pm CDT, with Don's execution following at 10 pm CDT.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Jane Daniel. Please pray for strength for the family of Don. Please pray that if Don is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Please pray that Don will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.