High Court leaves Lockette stay in force - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

High Court leaves Lockette stay in force

The GA Supreme Court said this afternoon that the stay of execution granted to Albany's Ray Johnson by Judge Willie Lockette Tuesday will remain in place. D. A. Greg Edwards asked the court to overturn the stay allowed by the judge.

The GA Parole Board has suspended consideration of Marcus Ray Johnson's petition for clemency due to the stay of his execution by the Dougherty County Superior Court.

 Here is the statement issued by the court:


 Atlanta, October 5, 2011 – The Supreme Court of Georgia today refused to vacate the stay of execution granted yesterday to Marcus Ray Johnson by Chief Judge Willie Lockette of the Dougherty County Superior Court. In a unanimous vote, the high court dismissed the State's appeal on procedural grounds.

District Attorney Gregory Edwards filed an emergency motion this morning, asking the state Supreme Court to vacate the judge's order granting the stay. But the stay was essentially a continuance of a hearing related to whether there should be additional DNA testing in Johnson's case. Georgia statutes do not authorize an appeal of that matter, the high court has ruled.

As a result, the lower court's stay of execution remains in place. Judge Lockette has ordered a hearing for Feb. 1, 2012 to further address Johnson's motion for additional DNA testing.

Johnson, 46, was scheduled to die tonight by lethal injection at 7:00 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, GA. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the March 24, 1994 murder of Angela Sizemore in Albany.


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