After 12 years without executions, Arkansas has set the lethal injection dates to kill eight men; four dates – two men each day – over the span of 10 days. That’s how Governor Asa Hutchinson has decided to “fulfill the requirement of the law” and execute every man on death row who has exhausted his legal appeals. Clear their jail cells. Get ‘em out of here. They’re out of time! If Governor Hutchinson has his way, the executions of Bruce Ward, Don Davis, Ledelle Lee, Stacey Johnson, Marcel Williams, Jack Jones, Jr., Jason McGehee, and Kenneth Williams will be done and over next month – all within 10 days.
Governor Hutchinson, really? Where is your humanity? Where is your heart? Oh, it’s with the families of the victims; as it should be. But is there no compassion for the families of the eight men you will execute one after the other – within 10 days? Is there any compassion for Arkansans who will experience the mental and spiritual anguish of putting eight men to death – all within 10 days?
I voted for you, Governor Hutchinson. I imagined that you had the human capacity to be the Winthrop Rockefeller of my generation. But you are no Rockefeller and I am disappointed. As Governor, yes, you have the responsibility to fulfill the requirements of the law. But the law also grants you the authority to show compassion and mercy.
Who will you be in this hour, Governor Hutchinson? Will you be our Rockefeller?
Right now, as Rockefeller did, you can declare a moratorium on executions and grant clemency to the 34 men on Arkansas’ death row. I know this would not be an easy decision for you politically or morally and it will require more courage and character than carrying out the executions. But, please consider the heart and words of Rockefeller in 1970 as he commuted the sentences and canceled the executions of all 15 men on Arkansas’ death row. “I am aware that there will be reaction to my decision,” he said. “However, failing to take this action while it is within my power, I could not live with myself.” He went on to say, “What earthly mortal has the omnipotence to say who among us shall live and who shall die? I do not.”
Governor Hutchinson, will you be our Rockefeller?