A Georgia death row inmate became the 1,500th person executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
Marion Wilson Jr. was convicted in the slaying of a man who gave him a ride in 1996, the Georgia Department of Corrections said.
He was executed on June 20 at 9:52 p.m. local time, and it was “in accordance with state law,” said the agency in a statement. “Wilson accepted a final prayer and recorded a final statement.”
A Georgia inmate convicted in the killing of man who gave him a ride in 1997 has died by lethal injection — the 1,500th person to be executed in the US since the return of the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. https://t.co/NYPMPfWhxp
— CNN (@CNN) June 21, 2019
Wilson was sentenced to death in 1997 for the murder of Donovan Corey Parks in southeastern Atlanta, CNN reported, which added that Parks was found dead on a street after giving Wilson a ride from a Walmart.
He was convicted of malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a sawed-off shotgun, the state’s attorney general said.
“According to Wilson’s statements, Butts had pulled out a sawed-off shotgun, had ordered Parks to drive to and then stop on Felton Drive, had ordered Parks to exit the automobile and lie on the ground, and had shot Parks once in the back of the head,” the office said in an account about his case.
Another man, Robert Earl Butts Jr., was also convicted in Parks’ murder. Butts was executed in 2018.
“On the night of the murder, law enforcement officers took inventory of the vehicles in the Walmart parking lot. Butts’s automobile was among the vehicles remaining in the lot overnight. Based upon the statements of witnesses at the Wal-Mart, Wilson was arrested,” the state’s attorney general also said. “A search of Wilson’s residence yielded a sawed-off shotgun loaded with the type of ammunition used to kill Parks, three notebooks of handwritten gang ‘creeds,’ secret alphabets, symbols, and lexicons, and a photo of a young man displaying a gang hand sign.”
Before his execution, Wilson said, “I ain’t never took a life in my life,” CBS News reported. Then, he received a deadly injection of pentobarbital.
“I love y’all forever. Death can’t stop it. Can’t nothing stop it,” he said.
According to CBS, during his execution, Wilson smiled and looked at a woman and spoke to her. He breathed deeply about 10 times before becoming still.
Parks’ brother, Chris Parks, said that he was frustrated by how long it took for both convicts to be executed, CBS reported. He said he now hopes his family can heal.
“Execution doesn’t bring him back,” he said, speaking about to his brother. “But what execution does is it offers a starting point for myself, my dad, our family, to finally get some sort of closure and to start healing.”
Thank you GA. He took a Prison Guards life. Time to pay for your crime.#BlueLivesMatter
Georgia Supreme Court declines to halt tonight’s execution https://t.co/C86HOF8dIr
— ALinGA (@awlatlanta) June 20, 2019
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he said, “I think about how my brother was snatched from his car by his necktie, and his necktie was so tight he probably couldn’t breathe or speak to beg for his life. I think about how he was laid down on the cold asphalt and he was murdered—for being nice.
He said, “What I saw in that execution was humane. It was a man being put to sleep as if he were getting a root canal.”
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Wilson was the 10th inmate executed in the United States in 2019 and the second in Georgia.