(NEWS CENTER) -- Government officials in Arkansas are planning to execute eight men over a period of 10 days in April because one of the key drugs in their lethal injection protocol is set to expire at the end of the month, according to report.
NBC NEWS (http://nbcnews.to/2nCCEox) reports Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson set the dates between April 17 and 27 and will require the state's department of corrections to execute two men per day with a few days between each lethal injection.
The eight make up a quarter of Arkansas's death row and were convicted of murders committed between 1989, and 1999. NBC news shows these men have not been executed because Arkansas' capital punishment has been held up since 2005 by legal issues and the state's lack of lethal injection drugs.
Attorneys representing the eight men are attempting to block the executions. "Marcel Wayne Williams, one of the eight inmates, filed an application for clemency on Tuesday, citing childhood trauma — including physical and sexual abuse — as a failure of the justice system." No State has executed eight death row inmates in 10 days. "No state has used this particular "cocktail" of drugs to execute two in one day, either," NBC News reports.
"I think this particular action is extreme and unnecessary," argued Arkansas State Rep. Warwick Sabin, a Democrat who represents Little Rock. "It creates the possibility for grave error and draws attention to the state in a way that doesn't ultimately benefit us."
Arkansas uses a three-drug protocol in its lethal injection procedures. The first drug, midazolam, is meant to render the inmate comatose. The second drug, pancuronium bromide, will cause paralysis and stop breathing. And the third, potassium chloride — which the state only acquired on March 8 — stops the heart.
Experts point out that midazolam, the drug set to expire on April 30, has sometimes failed to effectively knock out subjects, the report claims.
Death penalty experts say that increases the risk that the procedure could be rendered inhumane — and even constitute unlawfully cruel punishment, NBC reports.