Kenneth Williams, the fourth man to be executed by Arkansas in a rapid spree, planned to speak in tongues for his final words.
“Regarding my last words… Not that I believe that a person can speak last words, there’s eternity. I imagined I will once again apologize to the victim’s family members. In addition to that, I doubt it if you will be able to properly record my final words on paper. You [won’t] even understand them because they will be spoken in my spiritual language, in ‘tongues,'” Williams told the executioner.
“Tongues are made mention of in the Bible: 1 Corinthians chapter 14. If it be my fate to die on an execution table shaped like a crucifixion cross, my last words here on earth will be spoken to God above while the ADC and the State of Arkansas work to put my body to death beneath,” he said before speaking in tongues.
Reporters say he continued to speak in tongues until midazolam took effect.
“[I am] not the same person I was. I have been transformed. Some things can’t be undone. I seek forgiveness,” Williams said before he died.
Midazolam is a sedative used before surgeries. The drug is also part of the cocktail used for lethal injection executions.
Midazolam belongs to a family of chemicals called benzodiazepines, psychoactive drugs used primarily for treating anxiety, Newsweek reports.
After all the drugs were administered, Williams reportedly convulsed and coughed, dying seven minutes after the execution process began.
Williams was one of eight inmates on death row Arkansas scheduled to execute before one of the sedatives expired Saturday. Williams was the fourth execution in the spree, and the last to be executed before the drug’s expiration.
The 38-year-old was initially sentenced to life in prison for the 1998 killing of Dominique Hurd, a university cheerleader.
Three weeks into the sentence, he escaped in a barrel of kitchen scraps. He was later convicted of capital murder for killing Cecil Boren during the escape.
Williams was convicted of Boren’s murder and sentenced to death row. He later confessed to killing another person the same day he murdered Hurd.