Arkansas cleared a major hurdle in its on-again, off-again effort to conduct its first executions since 2005, with the state Supreme Court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was misleadingly obtained. The ruling clears the way for Arkansas to execute Ledell Lee on Thursday night, although he still has pending requests for reprieve. A stay remains in place that prevents the state from putting to death a second man, Stacey Johnson, as scheduled Thursday. The state originally set four double executions over an 11-day period in April. The eight executions would have been the most by a state in such a compressed period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The state says the executions need to be carried out before its supply of one lethal injection drug, midazolam, expires on April 30. The first two executions were canceled because of court decisions, and legal rulings have put the other six in doubt.
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