Tags: georgia | execution | ledford | first

Georgia Execution of Ledford is State's First This Year

Image: Georgia Execution of Ledford is State's First This Year

Death penalty opponent Peggy Hendrix protests the planned execution of J.W. Ledford Jr. for the 1992 murder of his elderly neighbor at the State Capitol on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 May 2017 01:33 PM

Georgia carried out its first execution of the year, putting to death J.W. "Boy" Ledford Jr. early Wednesday morning for the 1992 murder of Dr. Harry Johnston.

Johnston, who ironically delivered Ledford when he was born, was stabbed to death by Ledford, with one wound to the neck that nearly decapitated him, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Johnston was 73 at the time of his death, and Ledford was 20.

Ledford, 45, died by lethal injection at 1:17 a.m. Wednesday at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia, the AJC said. Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Georgia Supreme Court were all denied this week.

Ledford had asked to be executed by a firing squad, claiming that lethal injection would be too painful for him, CNN reported. He charged that he had been taking the pain medication gabapentin, which changed his brain chemistry so much the lethal injection drug pentobarbital might not make him unconscious, CNN noted.

In documents filed in the U.S. district court, Ledford argued that he would "suffer an excruciating death" if put to death by lethal injection, according to CNN.

"Mr. Ledford proposes that the firing squad is a readily implemented and more reliable alternative method of execution that would eliminate the risks posed to him by lethal injection," his lawyers said in court papers filed last Thursday.

The Georgia attorney general's office said there was no proof that a firing squad would be less painful and argued that there was "no substantial risk" that Ledford would suffer severe pain with the use of lethal injection, noted CNN.

The Associated Press reported that Georgia executed nine death row inmates in 2016, more than any other state. It also marked the most Georgia had executed in a single calendar year since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume 40 years ago.

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Georgia carried out its first execution of the year, putting to death J.W. "Boy" Ledford Jr. early Wednesday morning for the 1992 murder of Dr. Harry Johnston.
georgia, execution, ledford, first
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2017-33-17
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 01:33 PM
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