Three Killers Face Execution Within 24 Hours

Justin Smith Contributor
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After nine executions were put on hold following the botched lethal injection in Oklahoma several weeks ago, two inmates were executed late Tuesday and one more will be executed Wednesday night.

Marcus Wellons, a 59-year-old inmate from Georgia, was executed by lethal injection Tuesday night and pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. According to those present, it seemed to go well and had no complications. While the drugs were being administered, he took a few heavy breaths and five minutes later showed no signs of life. Wellons was convicted of the 1989 rape and murder of his neighbor, 15-year-old India Roberts. Wellons begged for forgiveness right before his execution, saying “I’d like to apologize to the Roberts family for my crimes and ask for forgiveness.”

About an hour after Wellons’ death, John Winfield of Bonne Terre, Missouri, was executed and pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m., central time. Winfield is said to have taken several deep breaths while the drugs were being injected then fallen silent. He had been denied a stay of execution late Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court. Winfield showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s apartment 1996 after hearing that she was dating another man, and, in a jealous rage, shot her and her two friends, who were also at the apartment, in the head. Winfield’s ex-girlfriend was blinded, and her two friends were killed.

Florida is set to execute John Ruthell Henry Wednesday night. Ruthell, who is mentally ill and intellectually disabled, was convicted of killing his estranged wife and 5-year-old son in 1985. He also pleaded no contest to the second degree murder of his common law wife in 1976. So far, there have been no plans to halt his execution.

This all comes on the heels of the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, the Oklahoma inmate who infamously died after a lethal injection was not administered properly. Lockett struggled for 43 minutes before finally succumbing to a heart attack. Since then, nine executions have been halted by the courts, as many state authorities look into more efficient ways to execute inmates. Lockett was executed for shooting and burying a 19-year-old woman alive, as well as raping her friend beside the pit.

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. All three states have refused to say where they get the drugs and if they have been tested.