Georgia inmate to be executed tonight

A Georgia prisoner convicted of killing an off-duty prison guard is set to die by lethal injection Friday night.

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday delayed Robert Earl Butts’ execution, issuing a stay in order to consider new information from the death row inmate’s lawyer. But on Thursday — just 18 hours later — the five-member panel lifted the stay and denied Butts’ appeal for clemency.

State corrections officials reset the execution for Friday at 7 p.m. 

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The pardon board’s action is rare. The last time they stayed an execution was in 2012. They eventually commuted Daniel Greene’s death sentence to life without parole.

It’s unknown specifically what the board wanted to consider. They conduct their business in private.

“Knowing the gravity of its decisions, the board extended deliberations in order to consider supplemental information submitted during the meeting that members had not previously reviewed,” said spokesman Steve Hayes. 

“Completing that process, the Board voted to deny clemency.”  

Butts was convicted of murdering Donovan Corey Parks, an off-duty corrections officer, in 1996. Butts, then 18, and Marion “Murdock” Wilson were sentenced to died in Baldwin County for shooting Parks in the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun and then taking his 1992 Acura with hopes of selling it for parts.

Unless the courts intervene, Butts will be the second person in Georgia executed this year.

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