BONNE TERRE, Mo. • A Missouri inmate has been put to death for killing two St. Louis County women in 1996, marking the state's fifth execution this year.
A corrections spokesman said John Winfield, of University City, died early Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre. Winfield took four or five deep breaths as the drug was injected, puffed his cheeks twice and then fell silent, all in a matter of a few seconds.
His execution came shortly after convicted killer Marcus Wellons was put to death in Georgia. Wellons' was the first execution in the nation since a botched execution on April 29 in Oklahoma raised new concerns about lethal injection.
Another convicted killer, John Ruthell Henry, is scheduled to die later today in Florida.
Winfield went to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in the 8100 block of Page Avenue in Vinita Park on Sept. 9, 1996. The ex-girlfriend, Carmelita Donald, was on a date. He confronted her when she got home. Then he fatally shot two friends of Donald and shot her multiple times, leaving her blinded.
A statement issued by Attorney General Chris Koster after the execution said: “Nearly two decades have passed since John Winfield’s cowardly acts of rage and jealously changed the lives of three families forever. He brutally murdered two defenseless young women, one in front of her children, and attempted to murder the mother of his own children, leaving her permanently disabled. For his actions, a court lawfully sentenced him to death under Missouri law, and tonight that sentence has been carried out.”
A federal judge had granted a stay of Winfield's execution on Friday, ruling that a prison worker dropped plans to write a letter in support of clemency due to intimidation from staff. The Attorney General's Office appealed.
The stay was lifted Tuesday by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday refused to halt the execution, and moments later, Gov. Jay Nixon denied clemency.
There had been no executions since April, when Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack during a botched execution in Oklahoma.