Former Arkansas executioner speaks out against upcoming executions

Jerry Givens/ CBS Newspath

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — “You had to transform yourself into a killer; a person who would take a life versus a person that would save a life.”

Over a 17 year period ending in 1999, Jerry Givens executed 62 death row inmates – some by electrocution – others lethal injection.

“These guys probably deserve what they’re getting but these officers don’t deserve to humiliate themselves and be put through this when they don’t have to.”

At the time, he supported the death penalty until hearing of innocent inmates sitting on death row.

“Me being the executioner might have killed an innocent person, well I have to ask for forgiveness. Why can’t these people on death row ask for forgiveness and receive it the same as I do?”

Now, he believes, Arkansas is rushing the process as the governor scheduled the executions before a second drug used for lethal injection is set to expire at the end of April.

“If the medication expires let it expire. These guys have been on death row for a long period of time, why rush into it now? If God wanted us to have the medication, he would provide a way.”

While eight inmates may be mentally preparing for death, he said those performing the executions don’t know what they’re in for.

“It never leaves you. I mean you’re doing something that you never did before, something the mind is not used to doing.”