The US state of Georgia executed a convicted murderer by lethal injection on Wednesday, after a court rejected his demand to be put to death by firing squad. Local television stations in the southern US state said death row inmate J.W. Ledford, 45, was pronounced dead at 1:17 am. His execution, by lethal injection, had originally been scheduled for Tuesday at 7:00 pm (2300 GMT), but was delayed pending a last-minute US Supreme Court appeal, which was denied. Ledford had been on death row for a quarter-century after murdering his neighbor in 1992.
He was found guilty of the armed robbery and murder of a 73-year old neighbor, Harry Johnston, whose throat he slit. Ledford’s lawyers had asked for his client to be put to death by firing squad — an unusual request which was rejected on Monday by a court which considered it a delaying tactic. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Georgia also rejected an appeal for leniency requested by Ledford.
The execution comes less than a month after four inmates were put to death in one week in Arkansas, as the southern US state rushed to schedule the deaths before the expiration of a drug used in lethal injections. That state had planned to put eight convicted murderers to death in 11 days — a record, had it been carried out –but four won reprieves.