[Photo: Death chamber in US]
Late Tuesday, a court denied an appeal clearing the way for the US state of Georgia to execute Marcus Wellons, convicted of the 1989 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl. Authorities listed 11:56 p.m. as the official time of death for the 59-year-old Wellons, killed by lethal injection.
Shortly after, in the Midwestern state of Missouri, authorities also used lethal injection to execute 43-year-old John Winfield 8pictured above), convicted of killing two women, state prison system spokesman Mike O’Connell said.
US states had put executions on hold in order to review their procedures after a botched killing on April 29 in Oklahoma. In that incident, Clayton Lockett writhed in pain for 43 minutes after receiving his lethal injection, a process that normally takes a little over 10 minutes.
The spectacle drew widespread condemnation, even from US President Barack Obama.
US states using the controversial death penalty have faced crises over shortages of lethal injection drugs after European suppliers stopped supplying pentobarbital for use in executions over fears that they could face penalties in their home countries, which do not allow judicial killing. 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.
Georgia, for example, uses one drug, the sedative pentobarbital, for executions. Oklahoma uses three.
With executions back on track in the United States, authorities plan another for 6 p.m. (2200 UTC) Wednesday in the Gulf Coast state of Florida.
mkg/rg (AFP, AP)