Georgia Execution Scheduled Tuesday, Texas Early Wednesday
Undated (AP) _ A federal appeals court refused Monday to hear the last-minute appeal of an inmate scheduled to die Tuesday in Georgia’s electric chair, while in Texas a new appeal was filed by a man set to die Wednesday.
After the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected the appeal of William Mitchell, lawyer Dick Burr filed a final plea for a stay of execution with the U.S. Supreme Court, which already has upheld Mitchell’s sentence three times. He was convicted of killing a teen-ager during a store robbery.
In Austin, Texas, lawyers for James Demouchette asked the state Court of Criminal Appeals to block his execution.
Demouchette, 32, faces lethal injection before dawn Wednesday for the 1976 shooting deaths of two Houston pizza parlor workers during a robbery.
Mitchell’s execution would be the fourth this year in Georgia and the 11th since the state resumed executions in 1983. Twenty-five inmates, more than in any other state, have been put to death since Texas resumed executions in 1982.
The Georgia Pardons and Paroles Board, the only non-judicial body in the state that can block an execution, will announce Tuesday whether to grant clemency for Mitchell, said board spokesman Silas Moore.
Mitchell, scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Tuesday, pleaded guilty in 1974 to killing a 14-year-old during a holdup of a grocery store in Sylvester where the youth’s mother was working. He also is serving a life sentence from Dougherty County for killing a 50-year-old man the day before.
Mitchell, 35, of Folkston, had been scheduled to die last Friday but state corrections officials postponed the date to allow his appeals time to get through the federal courts.
The Georgia Supreme Court rejected his appeals for a stay last week.
Demouchette’s first conviction in 1977 was overturned four years later on appeal. A second trial in 1983 resulted in another conviction and death sentence.
Demouchette was represented for the first time Monday by attorneys for the Capital Punishment Clinic at the University of Texas Law School.
″We allege he doesn’t have a lawyer and didn’t know he didn’t have a lawyer. The court has to give a stay,″ said attorney Jim Rebholz.
Ron Dusek, spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office, said it was uncertain if the state would oppose the request for a stay.
Demouchette has a history of violent behavior. Records allege he beat and raped a fellow jail inmate while on trial in Houston, beat and stabbed at least two other inmates, twice set fire to his cell, destroyed a television set and commode and threw lye in the face of a guard.
He also was convicted of stabbing an inmate to death with a 14-inch metal rod. After the killing, guards said he lit a cigar.
Last month, 17 deputies were summoned to a Houston courtroom to provide security when Demouchette was given his execution date.
His record also shows that as a child he was known for setting fire to buildings and catching dogs and cats and killing them. He failed in elementary school five times and served time in a juvenile home. He also has theft and burglary convictions.
Elsewhere, about 30 people gathered in Florida’s Capitol rotunda Monday in Tallahassee to pray, sing and protest the execution of convicted killer Beauford White in Florida’s electric chair last Friday.
The Rev. Jim Hardison, an Episcopalian priest, said the death penalty was unfair and discriminatory. Most inmates wind up on Florida’s death row because they are poor and powerless, not because of the crimes they have committed, he said.
White stood guard during a robbery and killing spree that resulted in the deaths of six people in Carol City.