The state of Georgia was to execute a man for the murder and rape of a teenager 25 years ago, bringing the nationwide debate over the drugs used in executions back into the spotlight.
Marcus Wellons, 59, was convicted of raping and murdering 15-year-old India Roberts on Aug. 31, 1989, in Cobb County. Wellons was convinced in June 1993 and subsequently sentenced to death.
The execution is on hold pending a request from Wellons’ attorneys to the U.S Supreme Court to stay the execution. The Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Tuesday declined to intervene.
Opponents of the death penalty oppose laws that keep secret the suppliers of the drugs used in lethal injections. Georgia and other states have passed laws in recent years keeping secret information about companies that supply the drugs.
Wellons’ execution was to be the nation’s first since April 29 when an Oklahoma inmate died following a heart attacked during a botched execution.