Death Penalty

For nearly three decades, Anthony Ray Hinton lived on Alabama's death row. 

When he was convicted in 1985 for allegedly murdering two restaurant managers, there were no witnesses. There were no fingerprints. And Hinton always maintained his innocence. 

In April 2015, the state of Alabama overturned his conviction and dropped all charges against him. He had spent nearly half his life in prison. 

We spoke with Hinton about his wrongful incarceration, what kept him fighting for justice and life since his exoneration. 

Leighton Rowell / GPB

Today in the Breakroom we talked about this week's top stories.

Supreme Court Grants Temporary Stay Of Execution In Georgia

Sep 26, 2017
Georgia Department of Corrections

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of execution Tuesday night for a Georgia inmate whose attorneys argue that the 59-year-old black man's death sentence was tainted by a juror's racial bias.

Keith Leroy Tharpe, known as "Bo," was set to be put to death at 7 p.m. EDT at the state prison by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital, but the hour came and went as the justices considered his case. Just before 11 p.m. EDT, the court announced the temporary stay.

Georgia Plans To Execute Man Who Killed Sister-In-Law

Sep 26, 2017
Georgia Department of Corrections

A man who killed his sister-in-law 27 years ago is scheduled to die Tuesday as Georgia carries out its second execution of the year.

Keith Leroy Tharpe, 59 and known as "Bo," is set to be put to death at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital. He was convicted of murder and two counts of kidnapping in the September 1990 slaying of Jaquelyn Freeman.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles — the only authority in Georgia with the power to commute a death sentence — declined on Monday to spare his life.

Lawyers Ask Panel To Spare Life Of Inmate Set For Execution

Sep 25, 2017
Georgia Department of Corrections

A Georgia prisoner scheduled for execution this week has spent the last 27 years regretting the decisions that led him to kill his sister-in-law as she was on her way to work with his estranged wife, his lawyers said in a clemency application.

Keith Leroy Tharpe, 59, is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday at the state prison in Jackson for the September 1990 shooting death of Jacquelyn Freeman.

Daniel LaChance

A new book by Emory History Professor Daniel LaChance tackles the changing perception of capital punishment in America. He argues the court trial, the sentencing, and the execution process are all deeply societal events that reflect the public’s relationship with government. Daniel LaChance joins us in studio.

A federal appeals court paved the way on Wednesday for Ohio to resume executions by lifting a lower court's decision to halt the state's lethal injection process.

It was a contentious decision that split the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges in an 8-6 vote.

In the case brought by death row inmates, the judges focused on the effects of the sedative midazolam, one of the three lethal injection drugs used by Ohio.

Georgia Executes Man Who Killed Elderly Neighbor In 1992

May 17, 2017
Georgia Department of Corrections

Georgia on Wednesday carried out its first execution this year, putting to death a man convicted of killing his 73-year-old neighbor 25 years ago.

J.W. Ledford's time of death was 1:17 a.m. after an injection of compounded barbiturate pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson, Warden Eric Sellers told witnesses. Ledford, 45, was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of Dr. Harry Johnston in Murray County.

Georgia Department of Corrections

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to commute the death sentence of J.W. Ledford. His execution is scheduled to be carried out Tuesday, May 16. It will be the first one this year. Georgia has long played a central role in the death penalty debate.

Georgia Department of Corrections via AP

Lawyers for a Georgia inmate scheduled for execution next week are asking the state parole board to spare his life, citing a rough childhood, substance abuse from an early age and his intellectual disability.

J.W. Ledford Jr., 45, is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday. He was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of his neighbor, 73-year-old Dr. Harry Johnston, near his home in Murray County, in northwest Georgia.

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