Carlton Gary, 67, known as the “stocking strangler,” is scheduled to die by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital Thursday evening at the state prison in Jackson.
(Georgia Department of Corrections via AP)
A Georgia man convicted of raping and killing a number of older women, and who was known as the “stocking strangler,” was executed shortly after 10:30 pm EDT Thursday.
The office of Georgia Attorney General Chris Car said the 67-year-old Carlton Gary is performed in the state of the prison in Jackson. He was the first prisoner executed in Georgia this year.
Earlier, the Supreme court of the V. S. declined to block the scheduled execution, but offered no explanation for the rejection of the request.
Gary was initially scheduled to be killed at 7 p.m. EDT. But that time is past when his case was before the nation’s highest court.
The police said Gary was arrested in May 1984, when a gun stolen in 1977 during a burglary in a luxurious neighbor of Columbus — where all but one of his victims lived, was traced back to him.
Prosecutors said Gary attacked nine older women from September 1977 to April 1978. Seven of them died. However, he was only charged and convicted for three counts each of malice, murder, rape and burglary for the death of the 89-year-old Florence Scheible, 69-year-old Martha Thurmond and the 74-year-old Kathleen Woodruff.
The victims were all elderly white women who lived alone and sexual violence, and choked — usually with stockings, prosecutors said during his trial. All but one of the Georgia victims lived in the Wynnton neighborhood, and lived near Gary’s home at the time of the crimes.
Gary’s lawyers have argued that in a petition for grace, and cases before state and federal courts that evidence that is not available to his lawyer proves that he is not the “stocking strangler.”
Perhaps the most fascinating, they have argued, is that the DNA of the semen found on the clothing taken from one of the victims of the houses was later found to belong to someone other than Gary. This is particularly important, they shall fight, because the woman survived the attack and dramatically identified him at the trial.
Body fluid testing on semen found on Thurmond the body and spots on Scheible the sheets, probably also exclude Gary, his lawyers argue, adding DNA testing that would have confirmed that it could not be done, because the samples were contaminated at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab.
In addition, they say, bite mark and fingerprint evidence at the public ministry was problematic and a shoeprint found on one of the crime scenes does not match Gary.
But the parole board, the only authority in Georgia, with the power to commute a death sentence, on Wednesday refused to spare his life after holding a closed door hearing to listen to arguments for and against the grace.
Appeal filed by Gary’s lawyers were still pending Thursday morning before the Georgia Supreme Court, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme court.
The state has argued in court filings that the evidence of Gary’s lawyers if new is already seen by the court and that his conviction and sentence have repeatedly been upheld by state and federal courts in the last three decades.
Gary filed a handwritten motion Thursday in federal court asking a judge to delay the execution and the appointment of a new lawyer for him. Gary wrote that he has met with a lawyer just once since his motion for new trial was denied in September and has not seen his lawyers since his execution date was set about three weeks ago.
His lawyers have not yet consulted with him on the legal strategy, and that he “should have had knowledge of and input in all the movements and presentations with him in these matters,” he wrote.
Gary’s lawyers not immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment. The state has filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the request.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.