Georgia Man To Be Executed Who Abducted, Raped And Murdered His Ex-girlfriend

In March, a man who murdered his previous fiancée thirty years prior is scheduled to be executed—the state of Georgia’s first execution in over four years.

Georgia Man To Be Executed Who Abducted, Raped And Murdered His Ex-girlfriend

Willie James Pye, who was found guilty of murder and other charges in the November 1993 killing of Alicia Lynn Yarbrough, was scheduled to be executed on Thursday. The order was signed by a judge. The judge established an execution window between noon on March 20 and noon on March 27, and the execution is slated for March 20 at 7 p.m.

The 59-year-old Pye would be Georgia’s first executioner since January 2020. Pentobarbital, a sedative, is injected during Georgia executions at the state jail in Jackson.

A deal between the state and the attorneys representing a certain group of death row inmates in Georgia effectively stopped executions due to the coronavirus outbreak. Pye’s attorney referenced that deal to a judge on Wednesday, requesting that the state be barred from pursuing an execution order against Pye in the interim.

Although Yarbrough and Pye had dated sometimes, court documents state that Yarbrough was living with another man at the time of her passing. Prosecutors claim that before going to a party in Gryphon, Pye, Chester Adams, and a 15-year-old child had intended to rob that man and purchase a firearm.

Around midnight, the three of them left the party and headed to Yarbrough’s house, where they discovered her by alone with her infant. Prosecutors claim that after forcing their way inside the home, they snatched a necklace and ring from Yarbrough and took her with them, leaving the infant alone.

Prosecutors claim that after driving to a motel, they took turns raping Yarbrough before leaving the property in the teen’s vehicle. According to court documents, after they turned onto a rural road, Pye ordered Yarbrough out of the car, forced her to lie face down, and shot her three times.

On November 17, 1993, Yarbrough’s body was discovered, just a few hours after her death. The adolescents, Pye, and Adams were taken into custody right away. Yarbrough’s death was a mystery to Pye and Adams, but the teen confessed and named the other two.

The teenager and the prosecution came to a plea deal, and the teen testified principally in Pye’s trial. In June 1996, a jury convicted Pye guilty of rape, armed robbery, kidnapping with bodily harm, and malicious murder. They also sentenced him to death.

Pye’s attorneys had been arguing in court for a long time that Pye ought to have a new sentence since his trial attorney had not sufficiently prepared for the sentencing part of Pye’s trial. The defence team for Pye contended that the trial lawyer did not sufficiently investigate Pye’s “life, background, physical and psychiatric health” to keep the jury from hearing mitigating evidence when Pye was being sentenced.

They offered proof that he was abused, neglected, and lived in poverty during his early years. They further contended that he had impairments to his capacity to plan and regulate his impulses due to frontal-lobe brain injury, which may have been brought on by foetal alcohol syndrome.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Pye’s attorneys in April 2021, despite a federal court rejecting those claims. However, the full federal appeals court reversed the case and reversed the panel decision in October 2022.

Adams, who is currently 55 years old, entered a guilty plea in April 1997 to counts of rape, armed robbery, kidnapping with physical harm, and aggravated sodomy. He is still incarcerated after receiving five consecutive life sentences.

Attorney General Chris Carr’s office and the attorneys for several death row inmates reached an agreement to temporarily halt executions and set conditions for their resumption when Georgia courts were placed under a judicial emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The agreement stated that, with one specific exception, executions would not take place again for six months following the fulfilment of three requirements: the state’s COVID-19 judicial emergency would expire; regular visiting hours would resume at state prisons; and a COVID vaccine would be made available “to all members of the public.”

During the judicial emergency, the 11th Circuit dismissed the pleas of death-sentence convicts to have their petitions reheard. These individuals were covered by the agreement. Executions for the prisoners involved are still pending as a result of the lawsuit surrounding that arrangement in Fulton County Superior Court.

Even though the 11th Circuit finally denied Pye’s request for a rehearing in March 2023, Pye’s attorney contended in a court document on Wednesday that Pye is still eligible to benefit as a third party under that arrangement. He requested permission from the court to become a party to the ongoing legal action, which would postpone his execution.

In response, state attorneys filed a response on Thursday arguing that Pye was not protected by the agreement and shouldn’t be permitted to participate in the ongoing legal proceedings.

In addition, the court that approved Pye’s execution noted that Pye was not covered by the agreement and that this did not stop his execution from taking place.

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