3 inmates set to die; previous execution botched
This undated photo made available by the Georgia Department of Law Enforcement, shows Marcus Wellons. Wellons is scheduled to be executed Tuesday, June 17, 2014. But if his execution goes forward as planned Tuesday, Wellons will be the first inmate put to death in the U.S. since a botched execution in Oklahoma in April. (AP Photo/Georgia Department of Law Enforcement)
FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2014 file photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections is John E. Winfield. Winfield, who faces execution one minute after midnight Wednesday, June 18, 2014, is one of three set to die this week as states move ahead with plans to carry out the death penalty. (AP Photo/Missouri Department of Corrections, File)
Convicted killers in three states were facing executions within a 24-hour period starting last night, marking the first lethal injections in the nation since a botched execution in Oklahoma seven weeks ago.
All of the states planning lethal injections – Florida, Georgia and Missouri – refuse to say where they get their drugs, or whether they are tested. Lawyers for the condemned inmates have challenged the secretive process used by some states to obtain lethal injection drugs from unidentified, loosely regulated compounding pharmacies.
Nine executions nationwide have been stayed or postponed since late April, when Oklahoma prison officials halted the execution of Clayton Lockett after noting that the lethal injection drugs weren’t being administered into his vein properly. Lockett’s punishment was halted and he died of a heart attack several minutes later.
“I think after Clayton Lockett’s execution everyone is going to be watching very closely,” Fordham University School of Law professor Deborah Denno, a death penalty expert, said of this week’s executions. “The scrutiny is going to be even closer.”
Marcus Wellons was set to die last night in Georgia, followed six hours later by John Winfield, who faced execution at 12:01 a.m. today in Missouri. John Ruthell Henry’s execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. today in Florida.
Georgia and Missouri both use the single drug pentobarbital, a sedative. Florida uses a three-drug combination of midazolam hydrochloride, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride.
Despite concerns about the drugs and how they are obtained, death penalty supporters say all three convicted killers are getting what they deserve.
Wellons was convicted in the 1989 rape and murder of India Roberts, his 15-year-old neighbor, in suburban Atlanta.
In Missouri, Winfield had been dating Carmelita Donald on and off for several years and fathered two of her children. Donald began dating another man. One night in 1996, in a jealous rage, Winfield showed up outside Donald’s apartment in St. Louis County and confronted her, along with two friends of hers.
Winfield shot all three women in the head. Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy died. Donald survived but was blinded.
In Florida, Henry stabbed his estranged wife, Suzanne Henry, to death a few days before Christmas in 1985. Hours later, he killed her 5-year-old son from a previous relationship.