Georgia executes man for 1992 killing over forged checks

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Georgia Set To Execute Man Accused Of Killing Mother's Friend

ATLANTA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Georgia on Wednesday executed a man convicted in the 1992 murder of a family friend, state officials said, after he lost appeals based on the drug to be used in a lethal injection.

The execution of Brian Keith Terrell, 47, takes to 28 the number of people put to death in the United States this year.

Terrell was convicted of shooting and beating to death John Watson, 70, after Watson threatened to prosecute him for using forged checks to steal money out of Watson's bank account, court records showed.

This undated photo released by the Georgia Department of Corrections shows Brian Keith Terrell. Terrell is scheduled for execution on Dec. 8, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson, Department of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson said Monday, Nov. 23, in a statement. Terrell was convicted of stealing checks from and then killing a friend of his mother. (Georgia Department of Corrections via AP)

Terrell was executed at 12:52 a.m., the Georgia Department of Corrections said, nearly six hours later than scheduled, as his legal team made final attempts to stay his death sentence.

Late on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution, just hours after the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals also declined to halt Terrell's execution.

Terrell had been scheduled to die last March, but was spared after prison officials detected a "cloudy" appearance in the drug used for executions, pentobarbital.

In court documents filed last week, Terrell's lawyer said the state still does not know what caused the drug to be defective and has not adopted safeguards to prevent it from happening again.

Georgia's attorneys said the pentobarbital was cloudy because it was stored at too low a temperature and that the state has executed two other inmates with the drug since then without incident.

Terrell had maintained his innocence. He accepted a final prayer but refused to record a final statement before being put to death at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, the state's Department of Corrections said in a statement.

Terrell had declined to request a last meal and would be offered the standard menu of chicken and rice, rutabagas, seasoned turnip greens, dry white beans, cornbread, bread pudding and fruit punch, corrections officials said.

Capital punishment in the United States has been declining in recent years, with the number of executions and new death sentences likely to hit lows not seen for more than 20 years, according to data compiled by the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.

Terrell was the fifth person put to death in Georgia this year, the center said.

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Georgia executes man for 1992 killing over forged checks

Willie Francis, the first known incident of failed execution by lethal injection, was executed on May 9, 1947. He was sentenced to death for the murder of his former boss, Andrew Thomas. 

(AP Photo/File)

John Wayne Gacy, a rapist and serial killer responsible for the sexual assaults and murders of at least 33 men, was executed in Illinois on May 10, 1994. 

(AP Photo/File)

Ted Bundy, a kidnapper, rapist, and serial killer responsible for the assaults and murders of dozens of young women, was executed in in Florida on January 24, 1989. His actual victim count remains unknown.

(AP Photo/File)

Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer responsible for the deaths of seven men, was executed in Florida on October 9, 2002. 

(AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

Charles Starkweather, a spree killer responsible for eleven murders, was executed in Nebraska on June 25, 1959. 

(AP Photo/Don Ultang)

Timothy McVeigh, responsble for the Oklahoma City bombing, was executed in Indiana on June 11, 2001.

(AP Photo/File)

Thomas Provenzano, a convicted murderer responsible for shooting three people, was executed in Florida on June 21, 2000.

(AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

Gary Gilmore, responsible for the shooting deaths of two men, was executed in Utah on January 17, 1977.

(AP Photo)

Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder and leader of the Crips gang responsible for several murders and other crimes, was executed in California on December 13, 2005.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Teresa Lewis, convicted of murdering her husband and stepson, was executed in Virginia on September 23, 2010.

(AP Photo/Va Dept of Corrections)

William Bonin, a serial killer responsible for a minimum of 21 rapes and murders, was executed in California on February 23, 1996.

(AP Photo/File)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, responsible for Boston Marathon bombing, was sentenced to death on May 15, 2015.

(AP Photo/Federal Bureau of Investigation, File)

Nidal Malik Hasan, responsible for Ford Hood shooting, was sentenced to death on August 28, 2013.

(AP Photo/Bell County Sheriff's Department, File)

Joseph E. Duncan III, a convicted murderer and sex offender, was sentenced to death on August 27, 2008.

(AP Photo/Kootenai County First Appearance Video Court)

Death row prisoner Coy Wayne Wesbrook is photographed Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Polunsky Unit outside Livingston, Texas. Wesbrook, 58, is set for lethal injection March 9, 2016, for the November 1997 fatal shootings of his ex-wife and another man at her apartment in Channelview, just east of Houston. They were among five people killed during the shooting rampage. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)

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