John Wayne Conner is scheduled to be executed in Georgia for murdering his friend, James T. White, in 1982. Clemency for Conner has been denied by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. John Wayne Conner, who is 60-years-old, has been on death row for the last 34 years.
John Wayne Conner was sentenced to death in July of 1982 in Telfair County, Georgia. Conner and his girlfriend, along with James White, who had been their friend, went to party that night where they had drinking and smoking. All three left the party together and headed back to Conner and his girlfriend’s apartment. When they got home, Conner’s girlfriend went to bed, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star.
Conner and White decided that they still wanted to drink and went out looking to get more alcohol. As the two men were walking, according to Conner, they were talking and White told Conner that he had slept with his girlfriend. The two friends got into a fight and it became physical. Conner was in a rage and brutally attacked White. John Wayne Conner bashed White’s face in and hid his body in a drainage ditch, according to the SF Gate.
Conner told his girlfriend they had to leave and they took off together. They were later found in barn hiding together. Conner was sentenced to death for the murder of White.
The Attorney General of Georgia released John Wayne Conner’s execution date as July 14, 2016.
Attorneys for Conner have exhausted all appeals for a stay of execution. They tried stating that Conner should not be executed, due to their claims that Conner suffered an intellectual disability. The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disability, defines an intellectual disability as a disability that begins before the age of 18-years-old. It can cause a range of issues with reasoning, learning, and problem solving, along with everyday social and practical-skills problems. Conner’s attorneys also tried using Conner’s past growing up. They claimed that John Wayne Conner had grown up poor and abused.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Conner’s appeal on Feb. 29. Supreme Court Judge Williams Fears denied the stay of execution.
Georgia reintroduced the death penalty in 1976. The first execution to occur since it was restored was in 1983. John Eldon Smith was executed on December 15 by the electric chair.
Between 1983 to 1998, 23 people were executed by the electric chair before the state switched to lethal injection.
Beginning on November 6, 2001, Georgia began to use the lethal injection to execute inmates. Jose Martinez High was the first to be executed in Georgia by the lethal injection. Since 1976, 65 inmates have been executed. There are 78 death row inmates in Georgia and only eight have been granted clemencies, via the Death Penalty Information Center.
Conner will be the first person in the United States to be executed in more than two months by lethal injection. John Wayne Conner will be the 15th person executed in 2016, and the first since the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, via the Washington Post.
Clayton Lockett, who had suffered during his execution, took at least 16 tries to get the IV into him. The Guardian reports that doctors didn’t have the right size needles to use and even tried to insert an IV into his groin and hit an artery. Lockett died 43 minutes after struggling. There are mixed reports from witnesses that say Lockett was still trying to talk and some say that he was moaning during the execution.
The use of lethal injection can vary from state to state. Up until 2009, three drugs were used in combination to execute inmates. Pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride had been used as a cocktail. There has been nationwide shortage of some of the drugs used in the procedure and eight states switched to a one-drug method, according to DPIC.
The first state to use one drug was Ohio, who used sodium thiopental.
John Wayne Conner ordered 10 pieces of fried catfish, 10 hush puppies, two triple deluxe hamburgers with bacon, two pints of vanilla ice cream, and one sliced raw onion for his last meal, reported 13 WMAZ.
John Wayne Conner has sat for 34 years on death row and he learned how to paint. Conner paints colorful watercolor landscapes. Many of his paintings have been given away to family and friends.
With John Wayne Conner’s execution, Georgia will have the most executions in one year since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Newsmakers]