Arkansas authorities carried out the country’s first back-to-back executions since 2000 on Monday night, executing Marcel Williams after a judge issued but then quickly lifted a temporary stay. Williams, sentenced to death for the 1994 rape and killing of Stacy Errickson, was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m. Another inmate, Jack Jones, had been executed hours earlier, and despite appeals from Williams’s attorneys arguing that the second execution of the night should be postponed after Jones endured a “torturous death,” U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker allowed it to go ahead. Baker had initially issued a stay for Williams around 8 p.m. but she lifted it about an hour later. Williams’s attorneys had argued that Jones, convicted for the 1995 rape and murder of Mary Phillips, suffered needlessly from the lethal-injection drugs used, saying he’d been “gulping for air” after one of the drugs was administered. The attorneys also said it took prison staff 45 minutes to put an IV into his arm, the Associated Press reported. Williams had appealed on the grounds that his obesity could complicate the procedure and that his previous lawyers had left out key information during his trial. Arkansas, which until ethis month had not executed an inmate since 2005, has been embroiled in controversy over its plans to execute eight inmates by the end of April, when its lethal-injection drug expires. Two pharmaceutical companies fought to stop authorities from using their drugs for the lethal injections, arguing that the Arkansas Department of Correction may not have followed proper protocols for distributing the drugs.