Georgia to execute man who wanted firing squad via lethal injection

May 16 (UPI) — A federal appeals court has denied a stay of execution for J.W. “Boy” Ledford Jr., a Georgia man who wanted to die by firing squad and was convicted of killing the doctor who delivered him at birth.

Georgia is scheduled to execute Ledford, 45, via lethal injection at 7 p.m on Tuesday after his stay of execution request was denied Monday. His request to be put to death via firing squad was rejected on Friday despite arguing it would be a more humane way to die.

Georgia uses the drug pentobarbital to induce unconsciousness and then death instead of midazolam, a drug used in a toxic medley which has been at the center of a Supreme Court debate over allegations it is a painful, lengthy method of execution.

Ledford’s lawyers argued the prescription drug gabapentin he uses to treat chronic nerve pain will cause pentobarbital to be ineffective. Lethal injection is the only method available in Georgia, but his lawyers said the state has the resources to carry out an execution by firing squad.

“There is a substantial risk that Mr. Ledford will be aware and in agony as the pentobarbital attacks his respiratory system, depriving his brain, heart and lungs of oxygen as he drowns in his own saliva,” Ledford’s lawyers wrote in court papers.

A Georgia Parole Board also rejected Ledford’s request for clemency on Monday. In the clemency request, Ledford’s lawyers cited early exposure to drugs and alcohol, a childhood in an abusive home, a low IQ and his remorse.

“He does not try to hide away from the harm he caused and is open with anyone he knows about the pain and about his sadness for the family,” the lawyer’s wrote.

Ledford was sentenced to death in 1992 for killing his 73-year-old neighbor, Dr. Harry Johnston, who delivered Ledford.

For his last meal, Ledford requested filet mignon wrapped in bacon with pepper jack cheese, french fries, 10 chicken tenders, fried pork chop, a bloomin’ onion, pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, sherbet and a Sprite.

Ledford will be Georgia’s first execution in 2017. The state executed nine people in 2016.


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