Georgia executes man for beating friend to death in 1982

Published 5:53 am Friday, July 15, 2016

JACKSON, Ga. — Georgia on Friday executed its sixth inmate this year, the most in any calendar year in the state since the death penalty was reinstated four decades ago.

John Wayne Conner, 60, was put to death for beating a friend to death during an argument after a night of partying in January 1982. Warden Eric Sellers told witnesses the time of death was 12:29 a.m.

Conner didn’t make a final statement and declined to have a prayer said for him.

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The warden left the room at 12:15 a.m. Records from past executions show the lethal drug generally begins to flow within a couple of minutes of the warden leaving the room, but that is not visible to news media witnesses.

Georgia executed five inmates last year and in 1987. Only five states have carried out death sentences this year, for a total of 15 executions. Aside from the six in Georgia, six inmates have been executed in Texas and one each in Alabama, Florida and Missouri.

Lawyers for Conner had argued that imposing the death penalty after he’s spent 34 years on death row was unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment and amounted to double jeopardy, which is when someone is punished twice for the same crime.