A Georgia inmate convicted of rape and murder was executed by lethal injection Tuesday night.
Marcus Wellons, 59, was put to death at 11:56 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson for the 1989 rape and murder of 15-year-old India Roberts, who used to live in Vinings, Ga. near the home of Wellons' girlfriend.
The execution was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Wellons' request for a stay of execution just before 10:36 p.m.
The Supreme Court of Georgia also initially denied Wellons a stay of execution.
Wellons was the first person to be executed in the U.S. since the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate a few months ago. After the inmate was injected with the lethal drugs, he woke up, then suffered a heart attack and died.
Lawyers argue that inmates under a death sentence have a right to know what lethal drugs are being used in their executions. They say certain drugs could violate an inmate's rights by causing cruel and unusual punishment.
Wellons had filed a motion to intervene in the appeal of Warren Lee Hill, another Georgia inmate who is also under a death sentence.
A Fulton County Superior Court Judge granted Hill a stay of execution last summer after he challenged 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.
But the Supreme Court of Georgia issued an opinion on May 19 reversing Hill's stay of execution. The court therefore denied Wellons' motion to intervene.
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