FLORENCE, AZ (KOLD) – Convicted murderer Eric John King was put to death by lethal injection Tuesday at 10:22 a.m.
Witnesses say he was calm and smiled during the ordeal. He lifted a hand and attempted to wave to two people he knew, KOLD reporter Courtney Carlmark said. The two were listed in public records as King’s spiritual advisors.
Those who observed the execution said King responded with “no” when asked if he had any final words.
King’s final meal consisted of fried catfish, collard greens and candied yams with a side of cornbread. He had chocolate cake with chocolate ice crean for dessert, along with a grapefruit, tomato and two cream sodas.
King was convicted of shooting and killing security guard Richard Butts and convenience store clerk Ron Barman the day after Christmas back in 1989.
The robbery netted King $72.
King has maintained his innocence since his arrest.
The 47-year-old was one of the last inmates on Arizona’s death row that was put to death using a three-drug method.
Critics have said the three-drug protocol might result in an inmate being painfully suffocated if the sedative doesn’t work before the other two drugs are administered.
The state has plans to switch to executing those on death row to a single-drug method.
Corrections Director Charles Ryan said the change was to allay any “perceived concerns” that the knockout drug sodium thiopental is ineffective.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court’s decision to deny a stay of execution for King. King’s lawyers argued the inmate’s execution should be delayed until Arizona puts in place its new lethal injection protocol.
Defense Attorney Michael Burke argued that the Department of Corrections may have engaged in fraud when it imported execution drugs from Great Britain by listing them in forms as being for “animals (food processing),” not humans.
R.I.P. Eric – fly free