Georgia Executes ‘Stocking Strangler’ Serial Killer

ATLANTA (CN) — Georgia executed the so-called “stocking strangler” Thursday night. Carlton Gary was convicted of raping and killing older women in attacks that terrorized Columbus, Georgia, four decades ago.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Gary, 67, was pronounced dead at 10:33 p.m. Thursday at the state prison in Jackson.

He was the first inmate executed this year by Georgia, and the state Department of Corrections says he was the 48th inmate in the state to be put to death by lethal injection.

He did not make a final statement.

Gary was convicted in 1986 on three counts each of malice murder, rape and burglary for the 1977 deaths of 89-year-old Florence Scheible, 69-year-old Martha Thurmond and 74-year-old Kathleen Woodruff.

Prosecutors said Gary attacked a total of nine elderly women between 1977 and 1978 in Columbus, a small city in western Georgia. Seven of the women were killed. Most of them were choked with panty hose.

Although Gary’s crime spree ended in 1978, he was not arrested until May 1984 when a gun stolen during a 1977 burglary was traced to him. The burglary occurred in the Wynnton neighborhood of Columbus, an upscale neighborhood where all but one of Gary’s victims lived.

At trial, prosecutors argued that fingerprint evidence pulled from the crime scenes implicated Gary in the murders.

Prosecutors also presented evidence of a pattern: all of the victims were older white women who lived alone and were all sexually assaulted and choked by someone who forced his way into their homes.

Gary’s attorneys appealed his convictions to state and federal courts in an attempt to block his execution. The lawyers argued that evidence uncovered after his trial raised doubts about Gary’s convictions. The appeals were denied.

Various courts have upheld Gary’s convictions over the past three decades.

Gary’s final motion to stop his execution was denied Thursday evening by the U.S. Supreme Court in a brief order. Per its custom, the court did not give an explanation for its decision.

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