Court Drops Stays For 2 Arkansas Men Set To Die Last Spring

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court says two condemned killers who came within hours of being executed last spring weren't entitled to special assistance from mental health professionals before and during their trials.

Bruce Ward and Don Davis had been set to die last April 17, but they won stays after claiming independent psychiatrists should have been available to help develop trial strategies. The court lifted the stays Thursday. State lawyers argued the men didn't meet the minimum threshold to qualify for the aid.

Ward still has a separate case pending on whether Arkansas' prisons director is qualified to determine whether he is currently sane enough to be executed.

Arkansas had planned to execute eight prisoners over 11-days last spring, but only executed four in eight days.

One Arkansas execution drug expires at midnight Thursday.