Capital Punishment

Georgia Executes Man for First Time Since 2020, Joining States Reviving Death Penalty

Main image to the post Georgia Executes Man for First Time Since 2020, Joining States Reviving Death Penalty

Georgia Executes Man for First Time Since 2020

Georgia carried out its first execution since January 2020 late Wednesday, joining other states in reviving the practice. This comes as the death penalty in the U.S. enters a new era of punishment.

Willie James Pye, 59, was convicted in the 1993 killing of an ex-girlfriend. He was pronounced dead at 11:03 p.m. at a state prison in Butts County, south of Atlanta, according to the state Department of Corrections.

"Pye did accept a final prayer and did not record a final statement," the department said.

Pye's execution at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson occurred hours after its scheduled time of 7 p.m. This delay followed appeals court and U.S. Supreme Court rejections of efforts to postpone it.

His request for clemency from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles was rejected Tuesday. The board holds "the sole constitutional authority to grant clemency in a death penalty case" in Georgia, it said.

Anti-death penalty groups had attempted to halt Pye's execution. They argued that he was represented by a court-appointed attorney accused of using a racial slur in another Black man's case. Additionally, they cited records indicating signs of an intellectual disability, potentially caused by fetal alcohol syndrome.

"Had defense counsel not abdicated his role, the jurors would have learned that Mr. Pye is intellectually disabled and has an IQ of 68," his lawyers argued in the clemency request.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09