How Many Death Row Prisoners Are Disabled? - Pacific Standard
When Kenneth Williams was a child, his father beat him regularly with a belt. One time, he threw Williams against a wall, injuring his brain. Besides the trauma stemming from this abuse, Williams was also forced to witness similar violence against his mother and siblings. In school, Williams was diagnosed with severe learning disabilities, perhaps related to the brain injury, or from exposure to toxic chemicals and drugs. Although three experts examined Williams and determined that he met the criteria for the definition of intellectual disability, which should have protected him, the Supreme Court declined to stop his execution. He died on April 27th.
Williams was the fourth person executed by the state of Arkansas this April. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson had signed the warrants of execution as he rushed to use up the state’s supply of lethal-injection drugs before they expired. All four of the executed men were disabled. Jack Jones was wheeled into the execution chamber because one of his legs had been amputated owing to diabetes. He also had bipolar disorder. Marcel Williams had been exposed to extreme trauma as a child, including repeated rape, and had intense post-traumatic stress disorder. Ledell Lee had fetal alcohol syndrome resulting in intellectual disability. Lee might also have been innocent.