Georgia Sets Record With 6th Execution This Year

John Conner beat a friend to death in 1982
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2016 3:50 AM CDT
Georgia Sets Record With 6th Execution This Year
Georgia death row inmate John Wayne Conner is shown in this undated prison photo released by the Georgia Department of Corrections.   (Georgia Department of Corrections via AP)

Georgia on Friday executed its sixth inmate this year, the most in any calendar year in the state since the death penalty was reinstated four decades ago. John Wayne Conner, 60, was put to death for beating a friend to death during an argument after a night of partying in January 1982, the AP reports. Warden Eric Sellers told witnesses the time of death was 12:29am. Conner didn't make a final statement and declined to have a prayer said for him. According to court documents, Conner beat his friend JT White to death on January 9, 1982, in the town of Milan, about 150 miles southeast of Atlanta, after a night of heavy drinking.

Lawyers for Conner had argued that imposing the death penalty after he spent 34 years on death row was unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. They also said Conner was raised in poverty in a home where extreme violence and substance abuse were the norm and exhibited signs of mental impairment that led his teachers to believe he was intellectually disabled from an early age. Georgia executed five inmates last year and in 1987. Only five states have carried out death sentences this year, for a total of 15 executions. Aside from the six in Georgia, six inmates have been executed in Texas and one each in Alabama, Florida, and Missouri. Conner's execution was the nation's first in more than two months. (A May execution in Missouri was delayed by severe weather.)

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