Monday, May 7, 2018

Georgia executes man who was 18 years old when he committed murder

The 10th Execution of 2018
Robert Earl Butts Jr. was put to death by lethal injection on May 4, 2018 at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison. He was pronounced dead at 9:58 p.m., reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 
When asked for a final statement, Butts replied, “I’ve been drinking caffeine all day.” Then he declined an offer for a prayer. 
He never looked at the father and brother of his victim, sitting on just the other side of the window that separates the witness area from the execution chamber. Nor did he look at Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee or Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who was chief deputy in Baldwin County at the time of the murder. 
Two minutes after the pentobarbital began to flow into the vein in his arm, Butts mumbled, “It burns, man.” After that, he yawned and took a series of deep breaths until there was no movement about a minute before he was pronounced dead.
Butts, 40, was sentenced to death for the March 1996 murder of 25-year-old Donovan Corey Parks in Milledgeville. Butts and his co-defendant, Marion Wilson Jr., asked Parks — an off-duty correctional officer — for a ride from a local Walmart store, then minutes later ordered him from the car and shot him in the head. Butts was 18 at the time. 
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Butts’ request for a stay of execution about 45 minutes prior to him getting the needle.
That followed the Georgia Supreme Court’s unanimous decision Friday afternoon to deny a stay of execution. 
Although the lethal injection was scheduled for 7 p.m., Georgia does not proceed until all courts have weighed in on last-minute appeals for mercy.
In addition to denying Butts’ motion for a stay of execution, the Georgia Supreme Court denied his request to appeal rulings by the Butts County Superior Court and the Baldwin County Superior Court, which both issued an order denying a stay and rejecting Butts’ challenge to his death sentence.
Butts spent his final hours with two relatives as the courts weighed his lawyers’ last-minute appeals, and he ate his last meal — a hamburger with bacon and two kinds of cheese, a rib-eye steak, chicken tenders, seasoned french fries, cheesecake and strawberry lemonade.
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