Arkansas’ First Execution Since 2005

Ledell Lee

Convicted killer Ledell Lee didn’t utter a single word moments before a lethal drug cocktail was injected into his body Thursday night inside Arkansas’ Death Row chamber in Varner. Lee, convicted in the 1993 slaying of Debra Reese was asked twice if he had any last words as he lay strapped to a gurney. The 51-year-old remained stone-faced, and never made eye contact with Arkansas Department of Correction officials as they spoke the final words he would ever hear. This came hours after he refused to eat a final meal, and took communion instead. It wasn’t immediately known if he offered any condolences to the victim’s family, or expressed any remorse for what he’d done.

At 11:44 p.m. the drug cocktail began, after a slew of legal filings with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court failed to compel judges to stay his execution. His attorneys’ arguments ranged from Lee’s alleged mental incompetence to whether or not the cocktail is humane. When his legal challenges were exhausted, Lee met his fate. He made no audible sounds, and from the vantage point of the witness room, he didn’t appear to be in any noticeable discomfort, media representative Sean Murphy said.  MORE

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