Georgia carries out 1,500th U.S. execution since penalty was reinstated


(Reuters) – Georgia on Thursday carried out the 1,500th execution in the United States since 1976, the year capital punishment was reinstated, by putting to death a man convicted of killing an off-duty prison guard in 1996.

Marion Wilson, 42, who was put to death by lethal injection, was declared dead at 9:52 p.m. EDT at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, the state’s department of corrections said in a statement.

Wilson was the 1,500th inmate executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, four years after declaring existing death penalty statutes unconstitutional, the Death Penalty Information Center said.

The first person executed after the reinstatement was convicted killer Gary Gilmore, who died by firing squad in Utah in 1977 after requesting execution. Since then, Texas leads all states in executions, with 561, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Wilson, executed on Thursday, had been convicted in 1997 of murdering Donovan Parks southeast of Atlanta and sentenced to death, court records show.

On March 28, 1996, Parks went into a Wal-Mart in Milledgeville to purchase cat food, leaving his 1992 Acura Vigor parked in the fire lane in front of the store, state prosecutors said.

After Parks left the store, Wilson and an accomplice, Robert Butts Jr., carjacked him. Wilson pulled the victim by his tie out of the car and onto the pavement and Butts shot him in the head, the records showed.

The two tried to sell the car at a shop in Atlanta that stripped down vehicles, but were turned down. Afterward, they set it on fire, court records showed.

Butts was put to death in 2018 for the murder.

Wilson was the 10th inmate executed in the United States in 2019 and the second in Georgia, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney and Clarence FernandezOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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