CRIME

US Supreme Court won't block Arkansas execution

Kenneth Williams, 38, is set to die Thursday for killing a former deputy prison warden.

Kenneth Williams, 38, is set to die Thursday for killing a former deputy prison warden.  (Arkansas Department of Correction)

The U.S. Supreme Court says it won't stop Arkansas from executing Kenneth Williams, rejecting claims that the inmate is intellectually disabled and ineligible for the death penalty.

Williams' execution by lethal injection is set for Thursday night. He will be the fourth inmate put to death by Arkansas in the past eight days in a compressed schedule because one of the state's lethal drugs is set to expire Sunday. This marks the most executions in such a short period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Williams faces the death penalty for killing former deputy prison warden Cecil Boren after escaping from the Cummins Unit prison in a 500-gallon barrel of pig food in 1999. He snuck into Boren’s house where he killed the warden and stole his guns and truck, then drove to Missouri and crashed into a water delivery truck, killing the driver, according to investigators.

Before he broke out of prison, Williams had been serving a life sentence for killing University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff cheerleader Dominique Hurd in 1998 after forcing her and a friend to withdraw money from an ATM in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. At the end of that trial, he taunted Hurd’s family by turning to them after the sentencing and saying, “You thought I was going to die, didn’t you?”

While in prison, Williams also confessed to killing another person in 1998.

After Williams’ execution, the state will have carried out four executions since last Thursday, including a double execution Monday, the nation’s first since 2000. Courts issued stays for four of the inmates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.