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JEFFERSON CITY • The Missouri Supreme Court on Friday set an execution date of June 18 for a University City man who killed two women and permanently blinded his ex-girlfriend in 1996.

It could be the eighth straight month that a convicted killer would be put to death in Missouri.

John E. Winfield, 46, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the state’s prison in Bonne Terre.

The crimes happened on Sept. 9, 1996.

Winfield had gone to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in the 8100 block of Page Avenue that night and became upset when she wasn’t home. She was on a date.

When she returned home, he confronted her outside and began yelling. Her roommates worried he was becoming abusive and decided to call police and slash his tires so he couldn’t get away.

He became enraged, grabbed a pistol and ran into an apartment and shot Arthea Sanders, then went outside and shot his ex-girlfriend four times. He then ran back inside the apartment and killed Shawnee Murphy.

A St. Louis County jury convicted him in 1998 and recommended two death sentences.

Missouri has executed one death row inmate each month since November.

The last one was on April 23 when Missouri executed William Rousan, 57, who murdered a couple whose cows he wanted to steal on a St. Francois County farm.

The next execution is slated for May 21. Missouri plans to execute Russell Bucklew, a former electrician who shot a man to death in Cape Girardeau 18 years ago.

The new execution date comes amid growing scrutiny of lethal injection following a botched execution last month in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals agreed Thursday to a six-month stay of execution for another death row inmate while an investigation is conducted.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Missouri’s four executions this year falls behind two other states: Florida and Texas. Florida has carried out five executions this year, and Texas has had seven.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kim Bell is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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