2017-05-15 20:08:40 UTC
Condemned killer’s family asks parole board to stop Tuesday execution
Advocates for condemned killer J.W. “Boy” Ledford asked the State Board of
Pardons and Paroles to stop his execution set for tomorrow and give him a
chance to continue supporting his son and other inmates on Death Row.
Ledford’s mother, his six sisters, his son, other family members and his
lawyers spent about 2½ hours with the five-person board while others on his
legal team continued to push his case through the federal courts.
Before deciding on his clemency petition, the board will hear from those who
want to see Ledford, 45, punished for stabbing to death his 73-year-old
neighbor and the physician who delivered him, Dr. Harry Johnston, 25 years ago.
Georgia Death Row Inmate Seeks Execution By Firing Squad
In their clemency petition, his lawyers write that Ledford deserves mercy
because he regrets killing Johnston, because he is intellectually disabled and
because at the time he was intoxicated and under the influence of drugs,
addictions he had suffered since he was a child.
Ledford’s appeals to the court also complain that he is at risk of suffering a
horrific death because the lethal injection drug Georgia uses may not work as
it should and the pain he experiences would violate his constitutional
protection from cruel and unusual punishment.
They write that Ledford’s brain chemistry has been altered by taking a
medication for years to address a chronic nerve problem. The lawyers say that
drug will reduce the efficacy of pentobarbital, the drug Georgia uses in its
Ledford’s lawyers wrote that death by firing squad would more likely ensure a
painless death, while lethal injection could mean he will not be unconscious
enough by the time his lungs begin to shut down. Georgia law only allows
executions by lethal injections.
The U.S. District Court on Friday rejected that argument, so he has taken his
appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Last week, the federal
appeals court in Atlanta turned down an Alabama Death Row inmate’s request to
be allowed to die either by electrocution or firing squad instead of lethal
Ledford was 20 years old when he murdered Johnston on Jan. 31, 1992.
According to court records, Ledford said the older man was giving him a ride
into town when Johnston accused him of stealing from him and turned around to
return to his Murray County home.
Johnston’s wife, Antoinette, said she saw her husband drive off in his truck
with someone she couldn’t identify in the passenger seat. A short time later,
Ledford came to the door asking to see the doctor. He returned 10 minutes later
to ask her to tell her husband to come to his house that evening. Then another
10 minutes after his second visit, Ledford returned with a knife.
He tied up the woman and left with cash, a rifle, a shotgun and two handguns he
found in the house. Antoinette told police she saw Ledford drive away in her
husband’s truck. He was arrested a short time later, after he had pawned
Johnston’s rifle and shotgun.
The next day Ledford confessed but said he killed Johnston in self-defense
because he pulled a knife on him.
Johnston was stabbed repeatedly. One wound was so deep he was almost
decapitated. His body was found under some limbs next to the garage near his
(source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
State considers stay of execution for Murray County man
A clemency hearing for a Murray County man whose execution is set for Tuesday
evening is underway.
The five-member state Board of Pardons and Paroles convened this morning to
hear arguments for converting J.W. “Boy” Ledford Jr.’s death sentence into a
sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
His mother, Mattie Ledford, sisters and others are scheduled to speak this
Board members will then hear arguments this afternoon for why they shouldn’t
reduce Ledford’s sentence. They could make a decision as soon as this evening.
If Ledford’s request for clemency is denied, he will be the first person to be
executed in Georgia this year.
Ledford was convicted in 1992 of killing his neighbor, 73-year-old Dr. Harry
Johnston. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have described the murder
as being especially brutal, with the doctor’s head nearly severed in the
Five jurors, though, have since said that they would have preferred to send
Ledford to prison for the rest of his life had it been an option at the time,
according to Ledford’s application for clemency.
Ledford’s attorneys, led Monday by John Cline of San Francisco, have also asked
the board to consider Ledford’s remorse as well as his young age at the time of
the murder and his intellectual disability.
The 45-year-old has also unsuccessfully sought to be executed by a firing squad
rather than lethal injection.
His attorneys argued that death by lethal injection is unconstitutional because
it would he would “suffer an excruciating death” due to Ledford’s long-term use
of prescription medications for “severe and chronic nerve pain,” according to
“His long-term exposure to this medication has changed the chemistry of his
brain so that (Ledford’s) lethal injection drug, pentobarbital, will not
reliably render him unconscious and insensate,” attorneys argued in court
(source: Tifton Gazette)
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
DeathPenalty mailing list