High court stays Georgia inmate’s execution amid claims of racial bias

(CNS) A Georgia death-row inmate’s scheduled execution late Sept. 26 was stayed by the Supreme Court just hours before he was to have been put to death.

Keith Tharpe had argued that one juror in his murder trial voted for capital punishment because Tharpe is African-American.

Tharpe was convicted of the murder of his sister-in-law, Jacquelin Freeman, on Sept. 25, 1990 — 27 years and one day before the scheduled execution. He never denied killing Freeman, but contended one now-dead juror, Barney Gattie, in an interview seven years after the sentencing wondered “if black people even have souls” based on his reading of the Bible.

Gattie also used a racial slur to describe some black people and said Tharpe, now 59, “who wasn’t in the ‘good’ black folks category in my book, should get the electric chair for what he did.” [More]


CNS/NCR Online