ST. LOUIS — Convicted killers in three states were facing executions within a 24-hour period starting Tuesday night, potentially the first lethal injections in the nation since a botched execution in Oklahoma seven weeks ago.
All the states planning executions — Florida, Georgia and Missouri — refuse to say where they get their drugs, or if they are tested. Lawyers for two of 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, according to state officials.
"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' execution in Georgia was scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, but a corrections spokesman said two hours later that officials were waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on an appeal. In Missouri, John Winfield faces execution at 1:01 a.m. today.
John Ruthell Henry's execution is scheduled tonight in Florida. (Story, 1B)
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.