Richley's lawyer, Mark Cambiano, called the process 'inhumane as hell . . . You just lead them in there like cattle, slaughter them and get on with business.'.
Shortly before the parade of executions began, the US Supreme Court rejected a joint appeal by all three men. 'This scheduled mass execution, by reducing human beings to hogs at the slaughter, will exponentially increase the level of fear, uncertainty and psychological stress that someone condemned normally experiences in the usual course of death,' the men said in their appeal.
The prison allowed for up to 60 minutes between executions - enough time to carry the bodies out in bags, wipe down the gurney to which each man was strapped, and change the needle before the next was brought in.
Arkansas says multiple executions reduce overtime and stress on employees. A Correction Department spokesman, Alan Ables, said the guards and volunteer executioners did their job efficiently. 'There's a lot of tension involved with the people involved to do it correctly,' he said. 'They wish to do a good job at what they do.'
Holmes, Clines and Richley were convicted of killing a businessman, Don Lehman, during a robbery in Rogers in 1981. He was beaten with a motorcycle chain and shot in the chest and head by four masked men who forced their way into his home, chased him and held him on a bed in the master bedroom. His wife was on the bedroom floor at the time.
The death sentence of a fourth man convicted in the murder was reduced to life in prison.
There have now been 249 executions since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed capital punishment to resume. The last triple execution was in August 1962, by gassing in California.
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