AFRICANGLOBE – A 72-year-old man convicted of murdering a convenience store manager in a 1979 robbery has been executed in Georgia, officials have said.
Brandon Astor Jones, the oldest inmate on the state’s death row, died by lethal injection at 12.46am on Wednesday at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification prison in Jackson.
He accepted a final prayer and recorded a final statement, the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement.
Jones’s death was delayed for nearly six hours following a flurry of appeals by his lawyers. The US supreme court denied a request to stay the execution late on Tuesday.
It was the fifth execution this year in the US, and the first of two scheduled this month in Georgia, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors capital punishment. Texas, Alabama and Florida executed inmates last month, the centre said.
Georgia’s supreme court and the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected Jones’s petition to commute his sentence to life without parole.
Jones has become the second man executed over the fatal shooting of Roger Tackett, 35, inside an Atlanta convenience store, according to court testimony.
Jones was arrested in the shop, alongside Van Roosevelt Solomon, after a police officer heard four gunshots, a case synopsis says.
Jones later told another officer: “There is a man in the back – hurt bad.” Police found the badly wounded Tackett in a locked storeroom.
Solomon, who was also convicted of murder, was executed in 1985. Jones had spent decades appealing against his death sentence.
A federal district court overturned his sentence in 1989 because a trial judge had allowed a Bible in the jury deliberation room, finding it could have improperly influenced jurors to base their decision on scripture instead of law.
Another jury sentenced Jones to death again in 1997. He continued to appeal against the verdict, saying his trial lawyers failed to introduce evidence of his history of mental illness and childhood sexual abuse.