Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Georgia "stocking strangler" denied clemency on eve of execution


The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a motion requesting a stay of execution for Carlton Gary, also known as the 'Stocking Strangler'.

Gary's attorneys argued that the convicted murderer and rapist's execution date was "prematurely set", leaving him without time for a review by the US Supreme Court, which earlier set an April 16 deadline.

Records from past executions show the lethal drug generally starts flowing within a couple of minutes of the warden exiting. He was convicted in 1986 on three counts each of malice murder, rape and burglary for the 1977 deaths of 89-year-old Florence Scheible, 69-year-old Martha Thurmond and 74-year-old Kathleen Woodruff.

For the last 30 years, Gary's lawyers have been filing appeals through state and federal courts to revoke the order of his execution.

The case was one of the most notorious in the state's history, terrifying a city as elderly women were raped and murdered in their homes and left with their own stockings tied around their necks.

Prosecutors linked Gary to the string of nine similar murders in Columbus-plus others earlier in the NY cities of Albany and Syracuse.

Protesters of the death penalty and those against Gary's execution are near the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.

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The victims were all older white women who lived alone and were sexually assaulted and choked - usually with stockings, prosecutors said during his trial. She also noted that four decades have passed since the killings and that the US Supreme Court has previously held that crime victims "have an important interest in the timely enforcement" of a sentence.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles, the only authority in Georgia with the power to commute a death sentence, declined Wednesday to spare his life after holding a closed-door hearing to listen to arguments for and against clemency.

In the clemency application submitted Wednesday to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, Gary's lawyers argue evidence that would have helped their client wasn't available to his defense team at trial because the necessary testing methods didn't exist at the time or because prosecutors failed to disclose it.

Since the state says the same person carried out all the attacks, excluding him from even one "would prove, under the prosecution's own theory, that Mr. Gary was innocent of all nine attacks", his lawyers wrote.

Appeals filed by Gary's attorneys were still pending Thursday morning before the Georgia Supreme Court, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The warden exited the execution chamber at 10.17pm on Thursday. That evidence would have raised reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors who convicted him, they contend.

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