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November 13, 2019

Two upcoming executions with still lots of questions swirling

As noted in this recent NBC News piece, a lot of officials and celebrities are raising a lot of questions about the guilt of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed. Reed is scheduled to be executed by Texas next week, on November 20, based on his conviction in the 1996 rape and murder of Stacey Stites.

But tonight there is an execution scheduled in Georgia, and it is not without questions as well as detailed in this local article headlined "As execution nears, co-defendant says condemned man likely isn’t killer." Here are the basics:

A co-defendant of Georgia death row inmate Ray “Jeff” Cromartie, sentenced to be executed for murder, said recently he had no idea who pulled the trigger.... [T]he co-defendant says he's been keeping a secret the past 25 years that makes him believe Cromartie most likely wasn’t the gunman.

“I keep hearing that Jeff Cromartie is the shooter and I know that is probably not true,” Thad Lucas wrote in an affidavit released Monday, claiming he overheard another man confess to the shooting.  Lucas was the getaway driver for the 1994 store robbery turned shooting in South Georgia.  He and fellow defendant Corey Clark testified for the state, avoiding the death penalty and murder charges.

At the time, Clark testified that Cromartie was the gunman. Cromartie said it was Clark.  Now Lucas, who is Cromartie’s half-brother, says he overheard Clark confess to the crime. He said he didn’t come forward before now because he feared no one would listen....

Cromartie is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Wednesday.  His attorneys are fighting for new DNA testing that they say could prove Cromartie didn’t pull the trigger.  Cromartie doesn’t deny involvement in the robbery, but he has maintained he wasn’t the shooter.

Generally speaking, Georgia’s party to a crime law could have made Cromartie eligible for the death penalty whether he pulled the trigger or not.  But his attorneys said the party to a crime law doesn’t apply now because prosecutors explicitly argued at trial that Cromartie fired the fatal shots.

On Monday, Cromartie’s attorney Shawn Nolan said the defense team was preparing a filing for the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to halt the execution based on Lucas’ statement. “No court has ever heard or considered this new evidence of Ray Cromartie’s innocence,” Nolan said.  “The state has denied his requests for DNA testing for years.  Mr. Cromartie’s jury sentenced him to death based on their conclusion he was the shooter. If he was not the shooter, his death sentence is not valid and his execution must not proceed."

November 13, 2019 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

Comments

I'm a citizen and the classmate of Ray Cromartie on behalf of his friend and classmates here in Texas. Please do not kill an innocent man on this one gor he is definetly innocent of being the shooter. Is it they do not want to compensate an innocent man that the State has tortured already for 25 years now hes prepared to throw his hand against the wooden cross as Jesus dix. For Jesus was innocent. Ray will rise after all the system has done to him unjustly. Every procecuter, judge, friens,that caused all this wrongful conviction will have to stand before God one of God commandments thou shall not kill
. Especially an innocent child of God for Gof takes care of his weak and meek. All in All My classmate is a peace with having s relationship with his Father at peace with his Father God. He's humble and remorseful to his childish peer pressured ways as a teenager. If marijuana induced choices he made in 1994 he still not crazy he know he did not shoot the the victim. God sits high and looks down low at all the ones that's allowing this unjust event to occur on behalf of our classmate. If the victims family thinks hes innocent wow.. we know it's hard to convence the grand wizard of a innocent black man down in Alabama. I fast and pray all wickedness be reckon with on the Lords basis. You reap what you sow. My sincere prayers for everyone involved and most of all whom love Ray Cromartie on a personable humane level. Classmate we love you. Special prayers for the victims family. Felica

Posted by: Felica Gregory-Mba | Nov 13, 2019 11:15:08 PM

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