Kenneth Williams, sentenced to death for the 1999 slaying of Cecil Boren, a Lincoln County farmer and former prison warden, was executed Thursday night.
Williams, 38, was the fourth inmate in eight days executed by the state of Arkansas. He died at 11:05 p.m. following a final review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Williams avoided a death sentence in September 1999 when a Jefferson County jury sentenced him to life without parole for the December 1998 kidnapping and murder of Dominique Hurd, a UAPB cheerleader.
Less than a month later, while serving his life sentence at Cummins, Williams escaped by hiding in a hog slop-filled tank of a garbage truck. Before he was captured the following day, he killed two more people.
Williams, then 20, fatally shot Cecil Boren at Boren’s Grady farm near the prison. Williams stole Boren’s pickup truck and gun before leading police on a high-speed chase in Missouri where he crashed Boren’s pickup truck into a delivery truck driven by a 24-year-old, Michael Greenwood. Greenwood was killed in the crash.
In August 2000, 11 months after Williams’ was convicted and sentenced for killing Hurd, a Lincoln County jury sentenced him to death for murdering Boren.
Five years later, in a letter to the editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial, Williams confessed to killing yet another person. In his September 2005 letter to The Commercial, Williams said he shot and killed 36-year-old Jerrell Jenkins of Pine Bluff on December 13, 1998, the same day that he murdered Hurd.
Greenwood’s widow and daughter this week purchased plane tickets for Williams’ daughter and granddaughter to visit Williams at the prison before his execution. Greenwood’s family also wrote to Gov. Asa Hutchinson asking that he spare Williams’ life.
“We are in no way asking you to ignore the pain felt by the victims of Mr. Williams’ other crimes,” Kayla Greenwood wrote. “We know what they are going through, but ours is a pain that we have decided not to try and cure by seeking an execution.”
Though Williams’ attorneys argued that Williams was intellectually disabled, therefore should not be put to death, Williams reportedly provided a lengthy written statement to Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist. The statement was printed on the following website: http://thenewfaceoftalk.com/8outoftime/kenneth-williams-last-words/
Arkansas has not carried out any executions since 2005 because of court challenges and difficulty in obtaining lethal injection drugs.
Originally, Hutchinson had set April execution dates for eight men, Don Williams, Bruce Earl Davis, Stacey Eugene Johnson, Ledell Lee, Jack Harold Jones, Marcel W. Williams, Jason F. McGehee and Kenneth D. Williams.
Ledell Lee, Jack Jones, Marcell Williams and Kenneth Williams were executed. The other four executions have been postponed indefinitely.