The 7th Execution of 2016
Travis Hittson, a former Navy crewman was executed on February 17, 2016 in Georgia for killing a fellow sailor whose remains were found buried in two states. reported The Associated Press.
Hittson, 45, was declared dead at 8:14 p.m. by Warden Bruce Chatman after receiving an injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. He was convicted in the April 1992 killing of Conway Utterbeck.
When Chatman asked if he wanted to make a final statement in front of witnesses, Hittson said, "No, sir. I'm alright." He then agreed to have a prayer read.
Georgia doesn't announce exactly when the lethal drugs begin flowing, and the injection isn't visible to observers. But the warden left the execution chamber at 8:04 p.m., and records from past executions show the lethal drug generally begins to flow within a minute or two of the warden's departure.
Hittson blinked repeatedly for several minutes and then appeared to take several deep breaths before becoming still about four minutes after the warden left the execution chamber.
Hittson's lawyers had said he was mistreated and neglected as a child and constantly craved the approval of others. That, they said, combined with alcoholism and relatively low intelligence, made it easy for his direct supervisor in the Navy, Edward Vollmer, to manipulate him into killing Utterbeck.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles, which is the only entity in Georgia authorized to commute a death sentence, on Tuesday denied Hittson's request for clemency. The board didn't give a reason for the denial, which is standard.
Hittson's lawyers also contended in a court filing that his constitutional rights were violated during sentencing when a judge allowed a state psychologist who had examined Hittson to recount damaging statements Hittson had made about Utterbeck.
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