Georgia executes man in 1992 murder

Georgia executes man in 1992 murder
J.W. Ledford

Georgia has carried out its first execution of 2017 with the lethal injection of 45-year-old J.W. Ledford Jr., who was pronounced dead at 1:17 a.m. Wednesday in Jackson.

Ledford was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of 73-year-old Dr. Harry Johnston near his home in northwest Georgia, according to the Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other news outlets.

Ledford told police he stabbed Johnston, who delivered Ledford when he was born, after the older man accused him of stealing.

The Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Ledford, clearing the way for the lethal injection.

Ledford’s attorneys had argued execution by lethal injection was likely to cause extreme pain because the drug would react badly to medication he has taken for a decade for chronic pain. The pain would be a violation of his constitutional rights. His lawyers suggested death by firing squad would be more humane.

However, Georgia law requires executions by lethal injection.