Three inmates to die after botched execution

Deborah Denno in Key 103 Manchester (UK), June 17, 2014

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Three inmates to die after botched execution

Three convicted killers are set to be put to death over the next two days in what would be the first executions since a botched lethal injection in April.

The three are set to die in three different states - Florida, Georgia and Missouri - by the same controversial method.

Across America states have been debating the use of lethal injections, especially the sometimes untested cocktails of drugs and how they are obtained.

The botched execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett in April added to the concerns.

Lockett appeared to be in significant pain during his execution, and died 43 minutes later from an apparent heart attack.

Since then, nine executions nationwide have been stayed or postponed.

"I think after Clayton Lockett's execution everyone is going to be watching very closely," said Fordham University School of Law professor Deborah Denno, a death penalty expert.

"The scrutiny is going to be even closer."

All three states where executions are planned refuse to say where they get their drugs, or if they are tested, even as lawyers for the death row inmates challenge the secretive process.

The three death row inmates are:

:: Marcus Wellons, who is set to die on Tuesday night in Georgia. Wellons was convicted in the 1989 rape and murder of India Roberts, his 15-year-old neighbour in suburban Atlanta.

:: John Winfield, who faces execution at 12.01am local time on Wednesday in Missouri. Winfield shot three women in the head - including his on-again, off-again girlfriend, with whom he had two children.

Two of the women were killed. Winfield's girlfriend survived but was blinded.

:: John Ruthell Henry, who is to be executed at 6pm local time on Wednesday in Florida. Henry stabbed his estranged wife, Suzanne Henry, to death a few days before Christmas in 1985.

Hours later, he killed her five-year-old son from a previous relationship. Henry's lawyers claim he is mentally ill and intellectually disabled.