Federal judge won’t stop Wellons’ execution

A federal judge and the state Board of Pardons and Paroles both rejected condemned murderer Marcus Wellons’ requests for clemency Monday in the death sentence for a 1989 murder of a Cobb County teenage girl.

Lawyers had argued before U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten that Wellons’ constitutional protections from cruel and unusual punishment could be violated if there was a problem with the compounded lethal injection drug produced by an unidentified pharmacist. They said here was no way to know in advance the quality of the drugs made specifically for his execution or the experience of the pharmacist who made the sedative.

“Terrible things can happen,” said attorney Bo King of the compounded drugs. When they go wrong, they go terribly, horribly wrong for the prisoner.”

A 2013 Georgia law protects the identities of anyone involved in an execution, including the pharmacy and pharmacist who make the pentobarbital the state will use if it executes Wellons on Tuesday evening.

If Wellons is executed, he will be the first person Georgia has put to death using a massive dose of the sedative pentobarbital. This also will be the first time an execution is carried out since Georgia law made the source of lethal injection drugs a state secret.

Earlier Monday, the Parole Board also rejected Wellons’ request for clemency.

Attorneys had argued before the five-person board that Wellons deserved mercy because he was remorseful about killing 15-year-old India Roberts, who lived near the Vinings townhome where Wellons’ girlfriend lived.

The board did not give a reason for denying the request.

His execution is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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