Clemency denied in the 'Stocking Strangler' case

Clemency denied in the 'Stocking Strangler' case

Georgia's parole board is set to hear arguments for and against clemency for an inmate known as the "stocking strangler" who's scheduled for execution this week.

On Wednesday, March 14, both Gary's lawyers and family will go to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Carlton Gary, 67, was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Thursday at Georgia's Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, where he declined to receive a last meal, meaning he'll receive a standard institutional tray of a hamburger, hot dog, white beans, coleslaw and a grape drink, the Ledger-Enquirer reports.

Gary was sentenced to death in 1986 for the rapes and murders of Florence Scheible, Martha Thurmond and Kathleen Woodruff.

Prosecutors say Gary attacked nine elderly women in Columbus in late 1977 and early 1978.

The women were all found beaten, raped, and strangled with stockings.

In last-minute appeals, attorneys for Gary cited the same evidence used previous year while trying to get Gary a new trial or sentence in Muscogee Superior Court, where a judge rejected those motions in September, according to the newspaper. But a "stay" was granted as new evidence and DNA was made available. Bodily fluid testing done on those samples likely excludes Gary as the attacker, they say, and DNA testing could have confirmed that.

Gary's appeals have continuously been reviewed and rejected by Georgia Supreme Court.

DNA testing done years after the trial on semen found on clothing worn by one of the women who survived does not match Gary, his lawyers wrote.

State lawyers acknowledge that the evidence from the Thurmond and Scheible crime scenes was contaminated in a state lab, but they say there's no evidence that was done in bad faith. The other evidence his lawyers claim exonerates him is largely based on duelling expert testimony, state lawyers say. Prints from the crime scenes also connected him to the murders. They also are asking the court to weigh whether the destruction of possibly exculpatory evidence by the state violates those same constitutional rights. Finally, they ask if the death penalty itself is unconstitutional because of "an unacceptable risk of executing the innocent".

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