The Latest: Georgia executes man for ‘94 store clerk killing

JACKSON, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on a Georgia death penalty case (all times local):

11:05 p.m.

Georgia has executed a man convicted of the 1994 killing of a convenience store clerk.

Officials say 52-year-old Ray Jefferson Cromartie was pronounced dead at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday after an injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson.

Cromartie, when asked if he had any last words, declined to make a statement. Then, when asked if he wanted a prayer said on his behalf, Cromartie said ‘yes’ and a chaplain said one for him. Once the drugs began flowing, the inmate took some deep breaths, exhaling deeply before he went still.

Cromartie had been convicted and sentenced to die for the April 1994 slaying of Richard Slysz at a convenience store in Thomasville, near the Georgia-Florida line. A Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case says Cromartie and another man went into a convenience store on April 10, 1994, and Cromartie fatally shot Slysz and then grabbed two cases of beer before leaving the store.

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10:20 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a request to stop the planned execution of a Georgia inmate convicted of killing a convenience store clerk 25 years ago.

The nation’s high court, without explanation Wednesday night, denied the request for a stay of execution put forward by lawyers for inmate Ray Jefferson Cromartie.

Cromartie was convicted of malice murder and sentenced to death for the April 1994 slaying of Thomasville convenience store clerk Richard Slysz.

Cromartie was initially scheduled to receive a lethal injection starting after 7 p.m. at a state prison in Jackson. The nation’s high court issued its decision hours after that time had passed. Earlier Wednesday, a federal appeals court also had refused to intervene.

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8:30 p.m.

A Georgia inmate set to be executed for a killing 25 years ago has an 11th-hour appeal pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nation’s high court had no immediate response to the request for a stay of the scheduled Wednesday night execution of inmate Ray Jefferson Cromartie.

Cromartie was convicted of malice murder and sentenced to death for the April 1994 slaying of Thomasville convenience store clerk Richard Slysz.

Barring court intervention, Cromartie was scheduled to receive a lethal injection after 7 p.m. at a state prison in Jackson. That hour passed with no immediate Supreme Court response to his appeal.

Earlier Wednesday, a federal appeals court refused to intervene, upholding a lower court decision.

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4:45 p.m.

A federal appeals court is denying an effort to block a Georgia execution.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected the move to block the planned execution of Ray Jefferson Cromartie, a lethal injection set for after 7 p.m. The three-judge panel says a lower court judge did not err in rejecting defense lawyers’ efforts to seek DNA testing.

Cromartie was convicted of malice murder and sentenced to death for April 1994’s slaying of Thomasville convenience store clerk Richard Slysz.

Cromartie’s half-brother this week claimed he overhead co-defendant Corey Clark say that Clark, not Cromartie, shot the clerk.

The lower court judge had ruled previously that that statement didn’t provide “new reliable evidence” of Cromartie’s innocence.

Lawyers for Cromartie are still asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stop the planned execution.

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9:05 a.m.

A federal judge is denying the most recent appeal of a Georgia man scheduled to be executed Wednesday evening at the state prison in Jackson.

U.S. District Judge Mark Treadwell, in an order late Tuesday, rejected new claims of innocence from Ray Jefferson Cromartie.

Cromartie was convicted of malice murder and sentenced to death for April 1994’s slaying of Thomasville convenience store clerk Richard Slysz.

Treadwell says a new claim from Cromartie’s half-brother claiming he overhead co-defendant Corey Clark say that Clark, not Cromartie, shot the clerk doesn’t provide “new reliable evidence” of Cromartie’s innocence.

The judge also says Cromartie’s lawyers should have offered the evidence before now.

Lawyers for Cromartie are moving to ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the judge’s ruling.

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1:30 a.m.

Georgia prison officials are preparing to execute a man convicted in the killing of a convenience store clerk.

Ray Jefferson Cromartie is scheduled to die Wednesday evening at the state prison in Jackson. He was convicted of malice murder and sentenced to death for April 1994’s slaying of Richard Slysz at a Thomasville convenience store.

The state says Cromartie, accompanied by another man, shot Slysz. Authorities say Cromartie also shot and gravely injured another clerk days earlier.

Cromartie says he didn’t shoot either clerk. His lawyers still seek DNA testing on evidence from the shootings, but courts have so far rejected them.

The execution was delayed last month after a trial court judge was found to have filed an execution order while Cromartie had a Supreme Court appeal pending.

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