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Legal bid to halt double US execution

By AP Reporters

Lawyers for Arkansas inmates condemned to die today in a planned double execution insist they are innocent.

Their strategy to win stays of execution is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber in Arkansas and were spared on Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues.

Arkansas officials are vowing to press ahead despite the setback to plans to resume capital punishment after a 12-year hiatus.

Governor Asa Hutchinson planned eight lethal injections in 11 days that would have marked the most inmates put to death by a state in such a short period since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

The state set the compressed schedule because its supply of one of the lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April.

Inmates Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee are insisting they are innocent.

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