The Latest: Testimony ends in trial over execution drug

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on a federal trial over Arkansas’ use of a sedative in lethal injections (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Testimony has concluded in a federal trial in Little Rock over Arkansas’ use of a sedative in lethal injections.

In their closing arguments, lawyers challenging the state’s use of the drug midazolam reiterated the sedative doesn’t provide enough anesthesia to render a patient unable to feel pain.

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But the state called that “pure, rank, speculation,” and argued that the sedative is sufficient and has been in dozens of executions around the country.

Executions have been on hold in Arkansas because of a lack of lethal injection drugs.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker will begin considering both sides’ arguments soon and will eventually issue a written order in the case.

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10:30 a.m.

A federal trial over Arkansas’ use of a sedative in lethal injections is wrapping up in Little Rock following testimony from the state’s prisons director.

Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley testified Wednesday about her role overseeing four executions that occurred over a two-week span in 2017. Witnesses have testified that inmate Kenneth Williams lurched and convulsed during his execution. But Kelley said Wednesday that while the movement was “startling” and unexpected, he didn’t appear to be in pain.

Executions have been on hold in Arkansas because of a lack of lethal injection drugs.

Little Rock radio station KUAR reports that closing arguments are expected Thursday and U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker is expected to eventually issue a written order in the case.

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Information from: KUAR-FM, http://www.ualr.edu/kuar/

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