GA inmate Marcus Wellons executed, 1st since botched injection

JACKSON, GA (WALB) - A Georgia inmate convicted of rape and murder has become the first person to be executed in the United States in seven weeks.

The ordered execution of Marcus A. Wellons for the 1989 murder and rape of 15-year-old India Roberts was carried out Tuesday evening at 11:56 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson, Georgia.

The execution of Wellons comes after the botched lethal injection of a prisoner in Oklahoma in April.

The sentence was carried out after the United States Supreme Court denied Wellons' request for a stay of execution just before 10:36 p.m.

The Georgia State Supreme Court initially denied Wellons a stay of execution, and prison officials waited until late Tuesday night to hear the decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 5-to-2 ruling, the Supreme Court of Georgia denied a stay of execution for Wellons, who is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, GA.

Wellons, 59, was convicted in Cobb County in 1993 of raping and strangling 15-year-old India Roberts, who lived in Vinings, GA, near the home of Wellons' girlfriend.

In addition to denying Wellons' Motion for Stay of Execution, the Court has denied his application to appeal a Fulton County court order dismissing his constitutional challenge of the Georgia statute that protects as a "confidential state secret" the identities of the producers and suppliers of the state's lethal injection drugs. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney also denied Wellons' request for preliminary injunction and stay of execution.

All the Georgia state Justices concurred in Tuesday's ruling except Justices Robert Benham and Carol Hunstein, who dissented.

For executions, Georgia uses one drug - the sedative pentobarbital. Oklahoma uses three.

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.