First US executions carried out since botched lethal injection: official

Death row inmate Marcus Wellons, seen in an undated handout from the Georgia Department of Corrections, was put to death on Tuesday night by lethal injection, the first execution since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma in April. -- PHOTO: REUTER
Death row inmate Marcus Wellons, seen in an undated handout from the Georgia Department of Corrections, was put to death on Tuesday night by lethal injection, the first execution since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma in April. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US states overnight on Tuesday carried out the first two executions since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma in April, after last minute appeals were denied.

One execution was in Georgia and the other in Missouri. Both were also by lethal injection.

In the first of them, Marcus Wellons, 58, convicted of the 1989 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl on her way to school, was put to death shortly before midnight in the southern state of Georgia, a spokesman for the prison system said.

In the second case, John Winfield, 43, convicted of killing two women, was executed in the central state of Missouri, state prison system spokesman Mike O’Connell said.

They were the first since the botched April 29 execution in Oklahoma.

A third execution is also scheduled for 6pm on Wednesday (6am on Thursday Singapore time) in the southern state of Florida.

US states using the death penalty have faced a crisis over shortages of lethal injection drugs after European suppliers stopped supplying pentobarbital for use in executions.

The shortages have prompted prison departments in the 32 states that still allow the death penalty to seek new supply sources or new drug protocols.

In Oklahoma, Clayton Lockett, a convicted killer and rapist, was put to death by lethal injection in a process that took 43 minutes, well over the expected time of a little over 10 minutes.

He was seen writhing in pain in a spectacle that drew widespread condemnation, even from US President Barack Obama.

Since then, each execution slated to take place had been delayed as states reviewed their execution procedures.

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