On Monday, a judge temporarily postponed the execution of a Georgian man who was to die on Tuesday for killing an 8-year-old girl 46 years ago.
Virgil Delano Presnel Jr., 68, killed the girl and raped her 10-year-old boyfriend after they abducted them on their way home from school in 1976. on May 4 from the Cobb area outside of Atlanta. The pentobarbital sedative at Jackson State Jail Tuesday at 7 p.m.
At the end of a hearing that lasted more than eight hours on Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shermela Williams issued a ruling temporarily banning the state from committing the death penalty on Tuesday.
He ruled in favor of Presnell’s attorneys, claiming that by setting a death sentence, the state had violated a treaty that effectively abolished executions during a coronavirus outbreak and set conditions under which they could be resumed.
State attorneys said they would appeal the judge’s decision to ensure that the execution proceeded as planned.
Earlier on Monday, the State Council’s Pardon և Parole Board, the only body in Georgia that could change the death penalty, refused to end Presnell’s execution.
On behalf of the Federal Defender’s Presentation Program, the lawsuit states that the agreement states that, with the exception of one name, executions will not resume until six months after three conditions are met. Covid-19: Judicial emergency, resumption of regular visits to state prisons ությունը Availability of the Covid vaccine to “all members of the public”.
The state of emergency ended in June, but prisons still use a changed visitation policy, with children under the age of five still unable to get the vaccine, according to Mike Kaplan, a lawyer representing the Federal Defender’s program.
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State attorney Jonathan Loegel insisted the deal was not a binding one, as he said the state had “substantially met” its terms. He said the visits had “resumed under our new normal conditions” and that the vaccine had been widely available for a year.
The agreement states that after fulfilling the conditions, the state intended to seek the death penalty for Billy Rawlerson, who was sentenced to death in May 1993 for the murder of three people in southern Georgia, to give Rawlerson’s lawyers at least three months. are. The Prosecutor General’s Office said it would not demand the execution of anyone covered by the agreement until at least six months after the conditions were met, the lawsuit said.
At the end of April, the Prosecutor General’s Office informed Rawlerson’s lawyer that the state intends to set Rowelson’s death sentence on May 17, the lawsuit says. After Rawlerson’s lawyer reminded the state attorney that he had agreed not to commute the death sentence during his previously scheduled vacation, the state attorney told him that Rawlerson’s execution would not be scheduled until August at the latest.
A few days later, on April 25, the state attorney informed Presnell’s attorney, Monet Bruerton-Palmer, that the state intended to execute him, according to the lawsuit. The orders were issued on April 27.
Contrary to the agreement, the Attorney General gave Bruerton-Palmer just two days notice that they intended to set a date for his execution, according to the lawsuit. That left him with little time to prepare for his apology hearing on Monday, the lawsuit said.
The apology hearing lasted just one hour Monday morning, and Bruerton-Palmer did not invite any witnesses or experts to testify or present the dozens of witnesses he would otherwise have presented, Kaplan said.
“This is often the best hope that a prisoner sentenced to death will not be fulfilled,” Kaplan said. “His apology failed completely this morning.”
In an apology to the parole board, Bruerton-Palmer claimed he was “deeply brainwashed” and did not understand what harm he was doing to the two girls. But because of Covid’s travel և travel restrictions և expert who recently had a heart problem, he was unable to testify to support it.
Bruerton-Palmer was working on Presnell’s case, but because of the agreement, “it was not on his radar as an emergency,” Kaplan said. He urged the judge to postpone the death sentence so that Bruerton-Palmer would have time to complete his investigation and properly prepare for a new pardon hearing.
It is in the public interest to ensure that the promises made by the state are kept, to avoid any perception that Presnell would be executed prematurely if his lawyer was not ready to file a pardon, Kaplan said.
Loygel argued that the state was interested in ensuring the speedy, timely administration of justice, and that delaying its implementation would prevent it. Bruerton-Palmer knew last fall that Presnell had exhausted his applications, so he had plenty of time to prepare, he said.
Williams said it was clear to him that the e-mail agreement must be binding on the parties. The Federal Defender’s plan was thwarted for Covid-related reasons so that it could be prepared as it would be, he said, relying on the agreement, he said.
It is clear that Presnel, whom he allowed to intervene in the lawsuit, suffered irreparable damage if the execution was not postponed, the judge said. “We can not return from death.”
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