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May 4, 2018

Georgia execution back on; stay lifted with clemency denied by state parole board

As reported in this prior post, earlier this week the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued an unusual stay on the even of a scheduled execution.  But now, as reported in this article headlined "Murdered Georgia man’s father thanks God inmate’s execution is back on," it appears that the execution will go forward only 48 hours after it had been originally scheduled. Here are the basics:  

Not long after halting the scheduled execution of Georgia inmate Robert Earl Butts Jr., the State Board of Pardons and Paroles lifted its own stay, putting the death penalty wheels back in motion.  Butts is now scheduled to die by lethal injection Friday at 7 p.m.  Before the parole board issued a stay Wednesday night, Butts was expected to get the needle Thursday evening for the 1996 murder of off-duty correctional officer Donovan Corey Parks.

“Oh Lord,” said Freddie Parks, the victim’s father. “I’m nervous. I’m really happy to hear the good news. I’ve been going through it 22 years. Nobody knows what I’ve been going through but me and the Lord. And I’ve been really talking to Him.” Just hours earlier, Parks, a 75-year-old retired prison guard, was angry and despondent at the same time over the stay of execution. “It wasn’t fair the way it came out, putting it off. Another blow,” he said at the time.

When the board issued its 90-day stay Wednesday night, its spokesman said the five-member panel needed time to review the “considerable amount of additional information” it received in a meeting with Butts’ attorneys, as well as in a subsequent session with those who wanted to see the execution carried out.  “Knowing the gravity of its decisions, the board extended deliberations in order to consider supplemental information submitted during the meeting that members had not previously reviewed,” spokesman Steve Hayes said. “Completing that process, the board voted to deny clemency.”

While the parole board has the sole constitutional authority to grant clemency, the courts have the ultimate power to decide whether to spare an inmate’s life. So Butts’ attorneys continued to file appeals on Thursday.

If Butts, 40, is executed, he will be the second man Georgia has put to death this year.

Prior related post:

UPDATE: This local article reports on the completed execution:

Robert Earl Butts Jr. was put to death by lethal injection Friday at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison. He was pronounced dead at 9:58 p.m. When asked for a final statement, Butts replied, “I’ve been drinking caffeine all day.”  Then he declined an offer for a prayer.

Butts kept his eyes closed from the moment he was placed on the gurney. He never looked at the father and brother of his victim, sitting on just the other side of the window that separates the witness area from the execution chamber.  Nor did he look at Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee or Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who was chief deputy in Baldwin County at the time of the murder.

Two minutes after the pentobarbital began to flow into the vein in his arm, Butts mumbled, “It burns, man.” After that, he yawned and took a series of deep breaths until there was no movement about a minute before he was pronounced dead.

Butts, 40, was sentenced to death for the March 1996 murder of 25-year-old Donovan Corey Parks in Milledgeville. Butts and his co-defendant, Marion Wilson Jr., asked Parks — an off-duty correctional officer — for a ride from a local Walmart store, then minutes later ordered him from the car and shot him in the head. Butts was 18 at the time.

May 4, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink



Posted by: Claudio Giusti | May 4, 2018 3:49:51 PM

22 years vs 24 hours. $5 million vs $5. Total lawyer abuse vs Chinese efficiency.

That disgraceful lawyer display vs this.


Posted by: David Behar | May 5, 2018 1:34:09 AM


Botched execution by lawyer stymied government dunderheads vs smooth as silk dispatch, with no pain whatsoever.

Posted by: David Behar | May 5, 2018 3:59:30 AM

Oh well. Time's up, I see.

Posted by: Joe | May 5, 2018 12:15:37 PM

Hi, Joe. Or maybe time is not up. Perhaps?

Posted by: David Behar | May 5, 2018 12:16:47 PM

Fans of the Smurfs might remember Brainy Smurf always asking "are we there yet?!"

One has to determine where "there" is.

Posted by: Joe | May 5, 2018 12:32:33 PM

Joe. I want you to do an exercise. Make a simple declarative statement. Feel free to justify it. Do not take it back in the same Comment. No one will think the less of you.

If you feel, you could be wrong, then take it back in a different Comment. Just do not do that in the same Comment, and every single Comment that you make. That drives me crazy.

Posted by: David Behar | May 5, 2018 12:43:06 PM

the state murders another citizen; how uplifting. Madam DeFarge, get out your knitting kneedles; the carts are rolling again.

Posted by: Ella | May 5, 2018 1:32:17 PM

"Hi, Joe. Or maybe time is not up. Perhaps?"

"Perhaps" is a good word -- life often is complicated. Some find it annoying to hedge but simplicity is often fictional. So, Justice Black spoke about "no law" being "no law," but finding means to go after people wearing naughty words on jackets.

Anyway, at 18, this guy killed an off duty correction officer [was this relevant when choosing the death penalty] in the course of a robbery in what going by one account is a execution style fashion. It wasn't -- like a some -- a long lingering death.

There is some question regarding details but pass on that. This is a "worse of the worst" crime? Georgia is more execution friendly than some states though last year only a single person was executed. There were a range of murders in the state and some small segment of them resulted in the death penalty. By some lottery, this unfortunately named person was one of them.

I don't think this is "murder" but it should be unlawful homicide per constitutional rules. Confinement, like for most who kill here and abroad, would have been a just punishment.

Posted by: Joe | May 5, 2018 3:30:33 PM

Joe. A Democrat killed a Republican, likely. Perhaps more than 5 years in prison would be excessive. This is especially true since the Democrat was just an impetuous youth at the time of the execution of the Republican. Or, maybe, 5 years would not be excessive.

Posted by: David Behar | May 5, 2018 7:38:23 PM

""Perhaps" is a good word -- life often is complicated. Some find it annoying to hedge but simplicity is often fictional."

Very good. You did not hedge that hedging is good. Thank you. I can stop banging my head, and trying to jump from a window.

Posted by: David Behar | May 6, 2018 2:17:18 AM

Please, deport DB in Communist China for good.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | May 6, 2018 8:34:31 AM

Joe, please comment profusely and take back in same comment ..

R U picking up what Im laying down......

Posted by: MidWestGuy | May 6, 2018 3:43:00 PM

Claudio. China went 10% capitalist and they are beating us all up in economic competition. One piece of good news for us is coming out. They are imitating our lawyerization of the nation. Result? Massive increase in crime rate from a low rate in China. They went from 200 to 100,000 lawyers now for 1.4 billion people. I think we should pressure them to get as lawyerized as we are. That would require their having 6 million lawyers, to destroy this formidable adversary from inside.

If you thought a bar exam was a hard exam, imagine taking the bar exam in the 20,000 character alphabet of Mandarin Chinese.

Posted by: David Behar | May 6, 2018 9:37:08 PM

Midwest. Joe loves me. He does not want any harm to come to me from his "w" word. Doug will delete this Comment if I am frank.

Posted by: David Behar | May 6, 2018 9:39:08 PM

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself;
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I try to follow the golden rule.

Posted by: Joe | May 7, 2018 9:50:51 AM

Joe. You just want to avoid criticism. Like a "w".

Posted by: David Behar | May 7, 2018 11:07:43 AM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB