Update: June 18, 2014 1:2 6am EDT

John Winfield has been executed by the state of Georgia.  Read the story here.

 

Update: June 18, 2014 12:22 am EDT

The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to stay the execution of John Winfield.

 

Update: June 17, 2014 7:45 pm EDT

After review by the full 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the stay of execution issued by US District Judge Catherine Perry has been overturned.  John Winfield is once again scheduled to be executed at 12:01 am CDT, on June 18, 2014.  John's attorneys have appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Update: June 17, 2014 4:49 pm EDT

Upon appeal, a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the stay of execution granted by US District Judge Catherine Perry.  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is appealing this decision to the full court.


Update: June 16, 2014 2:22 pm EDT

John E. Winfield's execution was scheduled for Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at 12:01 am CDT, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. His execution has been stayed US District Judge Catherine Perry. Forty-three-year-old John is convicted of killing Arthea Sanders and Shawnee Murphy, who were friends of John's ex-girlfriend. The murders occurred on September 9, 1996, in St. Louis County, Missouri. John has spent the last 15 years on Missouri's death row.

On Thursday, June 12, 2014, US District Judge Catherine Perry issued a stay of execution for John, as there have been reports that a correctional worker, who wanted to write a letter in support of John being granted clemency, was intimidated by prison officials against doing so. Judge Perry's decision is being appealed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Also on Thursday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request for a stay of execution over concerns surrounding the secrecy of the source of the execution drugs. John's attorneys have appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of the United States.

As a child, John liked to collect comic books and played on a youth football team. From a young age, John allegedly was forced to be the "man of the house" and help take care of his family, which included babysitting his younger cousin.

John Winfield and Carmelita Donald began dating in 1989. The continued dating on and off until the spring of 1996. During their relationship, they had two children together and shared physical custody. In the late summer of 1996, Carmelita began dating Tony Reynolds. They worked to keep their relationship a secret from Winfield. On September 9, 1996, while Carmelita was out with Tony, Winfield repeatedly called her apartment and asked Melody, Carmelita's sister and roommate, for Carmelita's whereabouts. Melody said she did not know.

Winfield went to Carmelita's apartment to further question Melody. Arthea Sanders, a third roommate, told Melody where Carmelita was. Melody and Arthea decided to tell Winfield that Carmelita had gone to Arthea's parent's house, in the hopes that he would leave. Melody eventually went downstairs to their friend, Shawnee Murphy's apartment, where she called Arthea's parents to tell them the story. When Carmelita and Tony returned they noticed Winfield's car parked outside. They drove to Tony's cousin's house and persuaded the cousin to drive Carmelita home.

 

Winfield did not leave the apartment; instead he began "knocking over" furniture and became increasingly agitated. He also began making threats against Carmelita. Upon arriving, Carmelita was approached by Winfield who demanded to know how long she had been dating Tony. During their conversation, Arthea slashed the tires of Winfield's vehicle to prevent him from escaping. Arthea also instructed Melody to call the police, which Melody did not do. Arthea yelled outside asking if Carmelita was alright, to which she responded that she was fine. Melody and Arthea then heard a car door slam and assumed it was Winfield leaving.

Instead, Winfield ran into Shawnee's lower apartment, with Carmelita following. Carmelita yelled for Arthea to run because Winfield was armed and coming after her. Winfield entered the apartment of Shawnee, where Arthea and James, a guest visiting Shawnee, was. Winfield chastised Arthea for slashing his tires before shooting her in the head.

Winfield then walked outside and pointed the gun at Carmelita, who began pleading with him not to shoot her. Winfield shot her four times and returned to Shawnee's apartment. Shawnee was attempting to collect her children before escaping and pleaded with Winfield. He shot her in the head.

Winfield turned to James and said "You next." James began wrestling with Winfield for the gun, allowing Melody to escape and call the police. Winfield was later arrested at his home. Arthea and Shawnee died from their injuries. Carmelita survived her injuries, although she is permanently blinded.

Winfield was convicted and sentenced to death on September 18, 1998.

Please pray for peace and healing for Carmelita and for the families of Arthea and Shawnee. Please pray for strength for the family of John Winfield. Please pray that John will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

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