Arkansas Seeks Death Penalty in 2017 Triple Slaying

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Prosecutors in Arkansas plan to pursue the death penalty for one of two brothers accused in the killing of a Little Rock mother and her two young children in 2017.

Pulaski County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Johnson told Circuit Judge Herb Wright on Tuesday that prosecutors would seek the lethal injection for 26-year-old Michael Collins of Colorado, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The county last sought the death penalty in 2009.

Collins and his brother, 22-year-old William Alexander of Little Rock, have been charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery in the deaths of 24-year-old Mariah Cunningham, 5-year-old A’Layliah Fisher and 4-year-old Elijah Fisher. The family was found stabbed to death in their Little Rock home in December 2017.

The brothers will stand trial separately. Collins’ trial date will be scheduled at his next hearing on May 28. The death penalty won’t be sought for Alexander, prosecutors said.

Collins and Alexander were also charged in July with capital murder and aggravated robbery in the death of Billie Thornton, 64. Thornton was found dead in his Little Rock apartment in July 2017.

Arkansas hasn’t performed any executions since 2017, when four inmates were executed in eight days.

The last of the state’s lethal injection drugs expired in January. Arkansas doesn’t have any executions scheduled, and state prison officials last year said they wouldn’t search for any new lethal injection drugs until a law keeping the source of drugs secret is expanded to cover manufacturers.

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