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Alabama man executed for 1982 killing

January 10, 1997

ATMORE, Ala. (AP) _ A man condemned for shooting a 72-year-old man during a 1982 arson and robbery was executed in the electric chair early Friday, just hours after he professed his innocence and Christian faith on a radio station.

Billy Wayne Waldrop, 44, was put to death at Holman Prison at 12:11 a.m. for the murder of Thurman Macon Donahoo.

Donahoo’s burned body was found in the charred ruins of his 100-year-old home after a robbery and arson in which $130 and a 5-carat diamond ring were stolen. He was fatally shot in the head before the fire was set.

``With Christ as my witness, I did not take this man’s life,″ Waldrop said in a interview taped and aired on Christian radio station WDJC of Birmingham hours before he was executed. ``For the last 11 years I have devoted my life to serving Christ.″

Waldrop has long maintained his innocence. At his 1983 trial, jurors heard a sworn statement in which he said he took part in the robbery and arson with William Eugene Singleton and Henry Leslie Mays. In the statement, Waldrop claimed Singleton shot Donahoo.

Singleton served 10 years for conspiring to burglarize Donahoo’s home and was paroled in 1994. Mays died while awaiting trial.

Donahoo’s killing was less than two years after Waldrop finished serving 7 1/2 years for the 1973 torture slayings of two men in Calhoun County. His initials were carved in at least one of the bodies.

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