Kenneth Fults: Death Row Inmate Claims Juror Was ‘Racially Biased’

Kenneth Fults, a Georgia death row inmate, is scheduled to die on Tuesday, April 12. However, in a last-ditch effort to spare his life, the 47-year-old man and his legal team are making one last plea to the Supreme Court. Fults’ attorneys are arguing that one of the jurors in his original case was motivated by racial prejudice.

Kenneth Fults was sentenced to death after pleading guilty to the 1996 murder of Cathy Bounds. According to prosecutors, Bounds’ death was the climax of a 7-day crime spree. Authorities said Fults stole two handguns and committed several burglaries within the week in question. On the seventh day, Fults attempted to kill Bounds’ boyfriend. However, the man managed to escape and Kenneth killed his 19-year-old girlfriend instead.

According to reports, Kenneth Fults forced the teen onto her bed, placed a pillow over her head, and shot her a total of five times.

Fults confessed to the murder after a police confronted him about a letter bragging about the crime. The suspect later explained that he killed Bounds while he was high on drugs — and therefore had no recollection of his actions.

During his trial, Kenneth Fults’ attorneys detailed a childhood plagued with alcoholism and violence, explaining “… Fults was abandoned and rejected by those who were supposed to care for him, ridiculed and dismissed by those who could have helped him, and beaten up and down by family members and strangers alike.”

Fults was ultimately convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He has been on Georgia’s death row for 19 years.

If the execution moves forward as planned, Kenneth Fults will be the fourth man executed in the state of Georgia this year. However, his legal team is currently in the process of trying to spare his life.

As the state and federal courts refused to commute the death sentence to life in prison, Fults’ legal team was forced to take their case to the Supreme Court. Although the case was also rejected by the Supreme Court in October, Fults’ lawyers are willing to try one more time.

The attorneys are now asking the high court to examine concerns over the case, explaining that nobody else was willing to examine the facts they are prepared to present.

According to the Metro UK, Kenneth Fults’ attorneys assert he was not given a fair trial. During jury selection, Thomas Buffington, a white man, said he had no racial bias towards the defendant. However, eight years after the trial, Buffington said in an interview, “Once he pleaded guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what that ni**er deserved.”

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Fults lawyers cited a case involving a Hispanic man from Colorado, who won an appeal from the Supreme Court after a juror made a nasty remark about Hispanics in general.

As reported by the Washington Post, prosecutors argued that the two cases are not the same. In the Colorado case, the juror made the comments during deliberations, which gave the other jurors an opportunity to inform the defendant’s legal team. In the case of Buffington, the comments were made years after the verdict was already handed down.

As reported by WTOP, Kenneth Fults’ legal team is also arguing that his trial lawyer refused to tell the jury Fults has an unusually low IQ, which prevented him from understanding the consequences of his actions. They also said his trial lawyer slept through portions of the trial and was never interested presenting facts that would have spared his client’s life.

Kenneth Fults’ attorneys are requesting a stay of execution based on the fact that he was simply not given a fair trial. Homer Bryson, a department commissioner, confirmed Fults execution is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m.

[Image via Room 76/Shutterstock]