Brandon Astor Jones, a 72-year-old convict, was executed the state of Georgia. Jones was the oldest man on the state’s death row.
Georgia’s oldest death row inmate, who was convicted in the killing of a convenience store manager decades ago, was executed by lethal injection by the state of Georgia. The 72-year-old convict was scheduled to be put to death by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson, reported Associated Press. The appointed hour arrived and passed amid a flurry of last-minute court filings for mercy. Jones is the fifth-oldest inmate that has been executed in the entire United States. He waited for the result of his final appeal just a few blocks away from the execution chamber.
Brandon Astor Jones was convicted in the shooting death of a convenience store manager in 1979. Jones’ victim was Roger Tackett. The Tenneco convenience store was located in Alabama. Based on the evidence, it was quite apparent that Jones and his partner were at the scene of the crime to rob the store. Incidentally, Jones’ partner, Van Roosevelt Solomon, who was also convicted of the same crime and sentenced to death, was executed by electric chair way back in 1985.
Jones’ attorneys had attempted to get the justice system to spare the 72-year-old from being executed by waging a legal battle. Jones’ attorneys merely managed to get the execution delayed by several hours. The U.S. Supreme Court was compelled to look at last-minute appeals from Jones’ attorneys. The appeals were hinged on two aspects, one legal and the other humanitarian. The attorneys asked the justices to block the execution for either of two reasons. The nine Supreme Court Justices were asked to spare the prisoner because Jones was challenging Georgia’s lethal injection secrecy law or because he said his death sentence was disproportionate to his crime, reported Johnson City Press.
Though the execution by lethal injection was scheduled to be carried out at 7 p.m., the process began only after 11 p.m. due to the appeals, which were turned down by the Supreme Court. Only after the court denied the requests for a stay was Brandon Astor Jones led to the death chamber. The state of Georgia doesn’t reveal the exact timing when the lethal injection is administered. Additionally, the entire process is carried out away from any non-official observers. However, the warden left the execution chamber at 12:30 a.m. (5:30 GMT), reported WSFA. It is has been observed that the lethal injections usually enter the body of the convict within a few minutes of the warden’s exit from the death chamber.
It took more than an hour to prepare Jones for his lethal injection, reported AJC. Moreover, according to local media, it seems there were a few complications while administering the lethal injection. It seems Brandon Astor Jones had the contents of the combination of injections injected through an IV which was inserted into a vein in his groin area. Such a procedure is usually a backup plan in case the nurses, who are tasked with correctly locating the veins in the convict’s arm, are unable to do so.
Despite the customary procedure of granting a last meal of the death row convict’s choice, Jones declined to request anything special. According to the Daily Croton, he ate the same dinner served to every other inmate at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison near Jackson; chicken, rutabagas, turnip greens, dry white beans, cornbread, fruit punch, and, for dessert, bread pudding. Jones’ even declined to make a final statement in front of witnesses. However, he did record a message a few hours prior to his execution. Additionally, he agreed to have a prayer read.
Apart from a lawyer and an investigator, Brandon Astor Jones had the company of three friends and 11 family members on his last full day of life.
[Photo by Georgia Department of Corrections]