Georgia Carries Out |Fourth Death Sentence

     (CN) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to block the execution of a Georgia man who claimed his murder conviction was tainted by a racism on his jury.
     Kenneth Fults died by lethal injection at 7:37 p.m. Tuesday night, the state attorney general’s office said.
     Before turning to the high court for a reprieve, Fults had filed a request for clemency with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. The request was also denied.
     Fults, a black man, pleaded guilty to the January 1996 murder of his white neighbor, Cathy Bounds, who he shot five times in the back of the head during a burglary.
     A jury sentenced his to die in May 1997.
     But during Fults’ subsequent appeals of that sentence, his lawyers interviewed Thomas Buffington, who in 2005 signed an affidavit stating the death sentence was “what that nigger deserved.”
     The statement raised eyebrows among the attorneys because during jury selection, Buffington had told the court he had no racial biases.
     The juror has since died. However, two of his fellow jurors signed statements condemning his remarks and raising questions about his fairness during their deliberations.
     The state of Georgia conceded Buffington’s use of a racial slur was unfortunate, but argued that it should be ignored on procedural grounds.
     Ultimate, both the Georgia Supreme Court and the 11th Circuit sided with the state.
     Fults’s execution is the fourth to be carried out in the state of Georgia this year.
     A fifth execution is scheduled for April 27. Daniel Anthony Lucas is to die by lethal injection for a triple murder he and an accomplice carried out during a burglary in 1998.
     Lucas’s co-defendant in the case, Brandon Rhode, was executed on Sept. 27, 2010.

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