The Supreme Court of Georgia on Monday afternoon denied a motion filed by Marcus A. Wellons to intervene in the appeal of Warren Lee Hill.
Wellons, 59, was put to death late Tuesday night by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, GA. He was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. after his final appeals were denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.
He was convicted in Cobb County in 1993 of raping and strangling 15-year-old India Roberts, who lived in Vinings, near the home of Wellons’ girlfriend.
Hill, who is also under a death sentence, had been granted a stay of execution last summer by a Fulton County Superior Court Judge to review the constitutionality of a Georgia statute that protects as a “state secret” the identities of the producers and suppliers of Georgia’s lethal injection drugs. On May 19, 2014, however, this Court issued an opinion reversing that stay. Wellons had sought to intervene in Hill’s appeal while that appeal is still within the jurisdiction of this Court.
He also thanked his family and friends for their support and prayers and added, “I’m
going home to be with Jesus,” according to the news outlet.
Wellons became the first inmate put to death in the U.S. since Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett died after his April 29 execution was halted when prison officials noted the lethal injection drugs — a combination of midazolam, vercuronium bromide and potassium chloride — weren't being administered properly, said WSB Radio. The doctor inside the death chamber reported a single IV in Lockett's groin became dislodged and the lethal drugs went into his tissue or leaked out of his body.
Oklahoma was using a new three-drug method for the first time following a shortage of pentobarbital, and Lockett writhed on the gurney, gritted his teeth and attempted to lift his head several times before the state's prison director halted the execution. He died within about 45 minutes from a heart attack.
Overseas makers of pentobarbital have stopped selling the drug in the United States if it is intended for use in an execution, reports ThinkProgress.org, and the result has states searching for replacement drugs.
The Georgia Department of Corrections told WSB it had secured the pentobarbital for Wellons' execution from a compounding pharmacy, which will custom-make the drug. This execution, which took less than an hour, was the first time the state has used compounded pentobarbital in an execution.