The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the two applications for a stay of the execution of John Winfield and Governor Jay Nixon (D) has denied Winfield’s petition for clemency. The way appears clear for his execution to proceed as scheduled, at 12:01 Wednesday morning.
The latest request for a stay had been based on Winfield’s attorneys’ argument that Department of Corrections officials “threatened and silenced” an employee at the prison at Potosi who was prepared to write a letter in support of Winfield’s petition for clemency. He wrote that it didn’t matter whether those officials’ actions changed the outcome of the clemency decision. Rather, he said, the state’s conduct was “fundamentally unfair” and interfered with a process that the state itself created. Luby asked the court to stay the execution until it had considered Winfield’s claim, “which is that due process entitles him to present a clemency petition unencumbered by purposeful state interference.”
Winfield was sentenced to death for the 1996 murders of Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy, friends of his ex-girlfriend, Carmelita Donald, whom he also shot, rendering her blind.