Update: John Winfield was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m. Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, Winfield took four or five deep breaths as the drug was injected, puffed his cheeks twice and then fell silent.
WASHINGTON — The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a Missouri execution slated for 12:01 a.m. CT Wednesday to proceed, reversing a trial court decision from last week putting the execution on hold.
Of the 11 judges to consider the matter, seven supported vacating the lower court’s stay of John Winfield’s execution. Four would have kept the stay in place.
Winfield, convicted in the murders of Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy, had argued that “state actors violated his due process rights by discouraging [Terance] Cole [the staff laundry manager at the prison where Winfield is held] from supporting a grant of clemency,” per Tuesday’s opinion.
“We conclude that Winfield has not demonstrated a significant possibility of success on his claim that the Missouri clemency process violated his rights under the Due Process Clause,” the appeals court held Tuesday.
Judges Diana Murphy, Kermit Bye, Jane Kelly and Michael Melloy dissented from the decision. Judge Duane Benton “did not participate in the consideration or decision of this matter,” per the court.
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