1. Update: Marcus Wellons was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m., a corrections official told the Associated Press.
Wellons was executed by lethal injection without any noticeable complications, the AP said. It was the first time Georgia used a single large dose of pentobarbital, a sedative, obtained from a compounding pharmacy for an execution.
3. Wellons, 59, convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in 1989, was initially scheduled to be executed in Georgia on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
4. Update — 10:38 p.m.: The Supreme Court denied Wellons’ three requests to stay the execution, meaning, absent a further request or order, Georgia officials are free to proceed with the execution:
7. Update — 12:15 a.m., June 18: The scene outside the prison after the execution:
8. Original story:
If Marcus Wellons’ execution goes forward, he will be the first inmate put to death in the U.S. since Oklahoma’s botched execution in April. Wellons was denied clemency by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday. Later that day, a federal judge also denied Wellons’ request for a stay of execution.
Hours before the state is scheduled to kill him for the murder and rape of India Roberts, Wellons’ lawyers filed an appeal at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to stay the execution on the grounds that the state’s refusal to disclose details about its lethal injection drugs violates his constitutional rights.
In 2013, Georgia’s governor signed into law a bill that classified all information about people or entities who manufactured, supplied, and compounded drugs as a “confidential state secret” that could not be disclosed even under judicial process.
Wellons’ lawyers have argued that their client’s Eighth Amendment rights, which protect him from cruel and unusual punishment, would be violated if the state did not disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy that supplied the custom-mixed pentobarbital to be used in his execution. They also said Wellons has a right to know the qualifications of the officials responsible for carrying out the execution. The appeal highlights the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma which occurred because of the improper placement of the IV line in Lockett’s veins.
Wellons could become the first man to be executed in Georgia since the state’s new secrecy law. It will also be the first time the state uses a single large dose of pentobarbital obtained from a compounding pharmacy for an execution.
In his Monday ruling denying the stay of execution, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. said the State Department of Corrections had a “compelling need” to keep the drugs used a secret due to the shortage of drugs it might have faced otherwise. He said the state “acted in good faith” when it chose the company that produced pentobarbital and in appointing the execution team. He also said that Wellons’ concerns about the pentobarbital and the person placing the intravenous lines into him amounted to “mere speculation.”