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Lethal Injection

Lawyers Desperate to Stall Arkansas’ Spate of Executions as Victims’ Families Hope for Closure

Lawyers for seven death row inmates scheduled to be put to death starting next week are desperately trying to halt the executions, arguing in federal court that the proceedings are unconstitutional and would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

The men are all convicted of capital murder and are all scheduled to be executed over an 11-day span.

Arkansas Set to Execute 7 Inmates in 11 Days 1:41

Attorney Jeff Rosenzweig represents three of the inmates. He and other critics view the spate of executions as an "assembly line killing."

"It is unprecedented that a state is trying to execute this many people in this short a period time," he told NBC News. "We're in a position where we're having to rush from one client to another."

For all sides, it's a race against time.

State officials say one of the drugs used in the lethal injection — Midazolam — will expire at the end of the month. Manufacturers have been reluctant to resupply states after the drug was used in a 2014 botched execution in Oklahoma.

But for Susan Khani, the punishment can't come soon enough.

Death row inmate Don Davis shot Khani's mother, Jane Daniel, in the back of the head during a robbery 27 years ago.

"I was in shock for a long time," Khani told NBC News. "It was just too unbelievable. It couldn't register."

For more coverage of this story, visit NBCNews.com/ArkansasExecutions

Even though she says she's forgiven Davis, she views the state's death penalty as a promise that needs to be kept.

"We've suffered long enough and my mom really suffered that last day," she said.

Davis is scheduled to be put to death on Monday.

"I've been promised this for 25 years," she said. "I just hope this time it goes through."

Related: Arkansas Executions: Damien Echols, Ex-Death Row Inmate, Will Speak for Condemned

Executions are relatively rare in Arkansas. These would be the first in 12 years. The state now finds itself at the center of the nationwide debate over the death penalty.

After peaking in the late 1990s, capital punishment is at its lowest point in a quarter century, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. There were just 20 executions nationwide last year.

Lethal Injection is still the preferred method. But drug shortages have prompted some states to consider other options, such as a firing squad in Utah and nitrogen gas in Oklahoma.