Georgia Executes Man After DNA Test Request Rejected

Victim's daughter had 'serious doubts' about guilt
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2019 12:53 AM CST
Georgia Executes Man for Store Clerk's Killing in 1994
This photo made available by the Georgia Department of Corrections shows inmate Ray Jefferson Cromartie in custody.   (Georgia Department of Corrections via AP, File)

A man convicted of killing a Georgia convenience store clerk 25 years ago was put to death Wednesday night, authorities said. Inmate Ray Jefferson Cromartie, 52, was pronounced dead at 10:59pm after an injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. He made no last statement but requested a prayer to be recited before the drugs began flowing, the AP reports. Cromartie was convicted and sentenced to die for the April 1994 slaying of Richard Slysz at a convenience store in Thomasville, near the Georgia-Florida line. The state said Cromartie also shot and gravely wounded another convenience store clerk days before the killing. Wednesday’s execution came shortly after the US Supreme Court, without explanation, rejected two appeals by the inmate’s attorneys.

Cromartie had insisted through his attorneys that he didn't shoot either clerk. The defense lawyers had also recently asked state and federal courts to allow DNA testing of evidence collected from the shootings that they say could prove he wasn't the shooter. They also released three statements from Slysz's daughter, Elizabeth Legette, supporting DNA testing. The latest Tuesday reiterated her "serious questions" about Cromartie’s guilt and criticized state officials for not responding to her calls for testing. "This leads me to the conclusion that victim’s rights extend only to those who support what the state apparently wants most in death penalty cases—the execution of the offender or the alleged offender," she said. Cromartie was the third person executed by Georgia this year.

(Read more Georgia stories.)

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