US

Arkansas inmates set to die Thursday claim innocence

This combination of undated photos provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death-row inmates Stacey E. Johnson, left, and Ledell Lee. Both men are scheduled for execution on April 20, 2017. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP)

This combination of undated photos provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death-row inmates Stacey E. Johnson, left, and Ledell Lee. Both men are scheduled for execution on April 20, 2017. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Lawyers for Arkansas inmates condemned to die Thursday in a planned double execution are claiming they are innocent and one of them says advanced DNA techniques could show he didn't kill a woman in 1993.

Their strategy to win stays is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber and were spared Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues.

Arkansas officials are vowing to press ahead despite the setback to plans to resume capital punishment after a 12-year hiatus. The state originally wanted to put to death eight men in 11 days but that is down to five after the two won stays Monday and a third was earlier put on hold by a federal judge.