Arkansas governor calls executions ‘necessary’

LITTLE ROCK, AR (WMC) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is speaking out on the state's plan to execute more death row inmates before the end of the month.

The governor made his first public comments about Thursday night's execution, its opponents, and the ambitious schedule before the end of the month.

Hutchinson defended the state's execution Thursday night of death row inmate Ledell Lee, the state's first inmate executed in nearly a dozen years.

"We understand how difficult this is, but that's the way we execute justice and it's necessary in certain cases," Hutchinson said.

He also didn't mince words about three more executions set for next week.

"If a governor does not set the dates, then the system of justice doesn't move at all, it goes as glacial speed and so setting the dates is important," Hutchinson said.   

Some critics called the initial schedule of eight executions in 11 days a rush to the death chamber.

"All eight were sent over by the Attorney General and said they are ready," Hutchinson said. "And I set the dates. If I had said I am not going to set those eight dates, all of sudden justice becomes arbitrary, it becomes random and it depends on who is selected that's not the right way to do it."

As it stands right now, Arkansas will execute two more inmates Monday and a third on Thursday.

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