No decision in Marcus Ray Johnson clemency hearing -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No decision in Johnson clemency hearing

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Lawyers for a Dougherty County man set to die this week for a 1994 Albany murder went before the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles Monday to plead for mercy.

Late Monday afternoon, the board said there would be no decision on clemency for Marcus Ray Johnson Monday.

He's scheduled to be executed Wednesday for the brutal rape and stabbing death of Angela Sizemore.

This was a day long hearing with the defense team starting at 9:00 Monday morning and District Attorney Greg Edwards and family members who presented their arguments Monday afternoon. Johnson's attorneys say there are troubling inconsistencies in the state's case, but Edwards feels differently.

In a last ditch effort before his scheduled execution Wednesday both the defense and prosecution once again argued the facts in the Marcus Ray Johnson case before the five member Board of Pardons.

"They're looking to see if there's any reason based on any part of the state's investigation or something compelling from the defense representation that they should withhold the state execution," said Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards.

Defense attorneys from the Georgia Resource Center contend there are enough questions about Johnson's conviction to warrant a new trial, they're questioning the DNA evidence, but the District Attorney stands by the conviction and evidence.

"There's no evidence that indicates that there was anybody else there, but even if there was anybody else there like I said, none of it exonerates, nothing removes him from the crime," said Edwards.

Defense attorneys made their arguments this morning and after lunch for two and a half hours Edwards explained to the board whether there was someone else there as the defense contends doesn't matter, all of the other evidence supports Johnson as being there.

"The eyewitness testimony, the physical evidence, his statement's to the police, all of these things are still part of the case," said Edwards.

Angela Sizemore's family also had their say.

"They continued to say that they believe that justice should be served in this instance, they expressed their feelings about how the case transpired," said Edwards.

While Marcus Johnson wasn't there in person, senior Clemency staff did conduct and interview with him and provided that statement to the five member board to consider in their decision.

There are two separate hearings Tuesday here in Dougherty County, one in the morning on several motions including DNA and a request for a new trial and a hearing in the afternoon in regard to evidence the defense claims the city withheld.

Marcus Ray Johnson's is scheduled for execution by lethal injection Wednesday night at 7:00.

He would be the 30th inmate put to death by lethal injection in Georgia.


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