Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Georgia Death Penalty - Then and Now

Georgia Electric Chair

Many people across the United States have their own strong opinions on the death penalty. It is a very controversial subject that many times just leads to more arguments and fights. I myself being born and raised in the state of Georgia and interested in the politics of this state have come across released audio tapes of 2 Georgia state executions from 1984 which I will get to shortly.

In 1984 Georgia still used electrocution as it's main form of execution. A brief history of our forms of execution are from 1735 to 1924 the legal method of execution in Georgia was hanging. The sheriff in the county or judicial circuit where the crime was committed carried out the execution. The last legal execution by hanging occurred on May 20, 1925. Gervis Bloodworth and Willie Jones (both white males) were hung in Columbus, Georgia for a murder that occurred in Taylor County. From 1924 to 2001 electrocution has been Georgia's form of execution. In 2001 the Georgia supreme court ruled anyone who commits a capital crime after May 1, 2000, and receives a death sentence, will be executed by lethal injection and those sentenced to death prior to May 1, 2000 will receive electrocution.

Which brings us to two audio tapes from 1984 that had been leaked. They were recorded internally by the Georgia Department of Corrections as a secret official record of the executions.
Ivon Ray Stanley

The first recording is of Ivon Ray Stanley, electrocuted on July 12, 1984. Stanley was convicted of being an accomplice, but not the trigger man, in the murder of an insurance salesman. The man convicted for the direct killing had his death sentence commuted to life in prison. Ivon Ray Stanley had an IQ of sixty-two

Alpha Otis O'Daniel StephensThe second recording is of a botched execution of Alpha Otis O’Daniel Stephens on December 12, 1984. His was called a botched execution since it took more than one electrocution. Stephens remained alive after the initial two-minute jolt to his body. He was electrocuted again after doctors pronounced him still alive following a six-minute pause. The original recording was was more than 20 minutes the following is a condensed version of the recording to remove the lengthy pauses.

If you want to download the above mp3 files instead of streaming them you can download them here.

Execution audio of Alpha Otis O'Daniel Stephens December 12, 1984
Execution audio of Ivon Ray Stanley July 12, 1984

The above audio gives a brief glimpse into Georgia death penalties from 1984. Georgia was one of the last states that used electrocution as a method of execution. And this audio, among others that were released, put pressure on our state supreme court to declare that this was cruel and unusual punishment. And the State of Georgia then shifted to lethal injection, which some say has worked equally as barbarically as electrocution did, depending on which side of the death penalty argument you are on.


worried about Troy in Illinois said...

I can't bear to listen to the tapes. I found your blog because I search for news about Troy Anthony Davis and the death penalty in GA. Troy's innocence doesn't seem to matter to GA courts. What do you think about Troy's case?

Eric said...

I think Troy Davis case is a huge screwup, he was convicted from witness testimony alone no hard evidence according to info on the trial.

What I don't understand is in 2007 the Georgia supreme court rules to hear his appeal. But this year the same Georgia supreme court denied his appeal.

It really doesn't make sense to me, hopefully they can get this straight.

illinois said...

It's like a Kafta story that's not a story.

Illinois sucks in many ways, but alot of what's legal in the Georgia judicial and criminal systems isn't here. So it's hard to understand how Troy Davis can still be facing imminent execution.

Recently, MobLogic posted interviews with people from Marietta on what they thought about an upcoming exectution.

That was disheartening. But not near listening to those tapes.

And please sign the petition for Troy at www.savetroydavis.net

Eric said...

thanks for that link I will definately sign.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how anyone with a conscious at all can execute any individual(s) when several witnesses have recanted -- in this case Troy Anthony Davis.

On the other hand you have a video of a man (Brian Nichols) killing individuals in cold blood and it take you years to convict him. Now he should get the CHAIR!!