After a seven-week lapse in U.S. executions, two inmates were put to death by lethal injection within two hours of each other.

AP Georgia-Death Penalty

Image: AP via Georgia Department of Law Enforcement

A Georgia man who raped and murdered a 15-year-old girl was executed Tuesday night, ending a seven-week lapse in the death penalty across the United States, the result partly of legal controversies surrounding the practice of lethal injection.

Marcus Wellons, 59, was executed with barbiturate pentobarbital that the state obtained for the first time from a loosely regulated compounding pharmacy.

Wellons’ execution was the first of three to be carried out in less than 24 hours for condemned prisoners in Georgia, Missouri and Florida.

A second execution quickly followed in Missouri for John Winfield, convicted of killing two women and blinding a third in a shooting spree in 1996. He was executed early Wednesday morning.

Attorneys in the Winfield case failed in a bid late Tuesday for a last-minute stay of execution before the U.S.Supreme Court.

More from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl