Putman executed for South Georgia murders - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Putman executed for South Georgia murders

November 14, 2002

(Jackson) -- William Putman was executed Wednesday night for the deaths of a couple sleeping at a south Georgia rest stop 22 years ago.

While Putman was dying, death penalty protesters were praying for his life. "It's a time for us to lift up his life while the state is preparing to take his life," said Laura Moye of Amnesty International.

Putman was pronounced dead at 7:24 Wednesday night. "It's a series of three sets of injections," said Brian Owens of the Dept. of Corrections. "The first two injections are sodium pentathol, 60 cc's each which sedates the condemned. The second injections are 60 cc's of pavulon, which stops the respiratory system, and the final injection is potassium chloride, which stops the heart."

At least 30 people witnessed the execution, including three South Georgia media representatives.

"While he lay there, he looked upward , and he looked out at the witnesses, looked up a couple of times, when he was asked a statement, he didn't have a statement, he didn't ask for a prayer. he really appeared resigned," said David Fuller of WALB-TV

"When I first walked in there, it was like seeing someone on an operating room table, strapped down. The left hand was up, the right hand down. The left arm had the needle in it," said Fuller.

"I was just doing my job," said Charles Shiver of the Adel News-Tribune. "It was something I've never done before. I wouldn't recommend it for most people. It would stick in most people's minds for a very long time."

"It wasn't an enjoyable part of my job, but I understand it has to be done. It was not as gruesome as I thought it would be going in," said Marie Arrington of the Valdosta Times.

Putman had instructed his attorney to drop his final appeals, and spent his last two days meeting with family members and friends.

Witnesses in Putman's trial said he approached a family sleeping at a rest area off Interstate 75 near Lenox on July tenth, 1980. The family was traveling home to Kentucky from a vacation at Daytona Beach.

Putman was found guilty on accounts that he fatally shot the car's driver, David Hardin. Then Putman demanded that Hardin's wife, Katie, leave with him. She refused and screamed for her husband as he lay dying. Then, she was shot in the head. Four children in the car were not hurt.

Putman also was convicted of killing a school teacher, William Hodges, at a truck stop in Valdosta the day before the Hardin were killed.

posted at 10:25AM by dave.miller@walb.com
The AP contributed to this report.

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