Groups protest executions tonight

(January 6, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Death-penalty opponents say they will gather outside the Governor's mansion tonight as two executions are carried out at Varner. The protesters plan the vigil following a prayer service for condemned inmates Charles Singleton and Karl Roberts. Singleton is mentally ill, but his condition is controlled through medication. Pauline Charton, director of the Arkansas chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, says she believes his execution is barbaric. The alliance for the mentally ill, along with the Arkansas chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the N-Double-A-C-P, plan a news conference to call attention to the executions. Rita Sklar, spokeswoman for the Arkansas A-C-L-U, says the groups are focusing on Singleton because of his mental illness, but they are hopeful for Roberts, as well.