A Georgia man convicted of killing his former girlfriend three a long time in the past is scheduled to be put to dying Wednesday in what can be the state’s first execution since January 2020.

Willie James Pye, 59, was convicted of homicide and different crimes within the November 1993 killing of Alicia Lynn Yarbrough. The planned lethal injection utilizing the sedative pentobarbital is ready to occur on the state jail in Jackson.

Death Penalty Georgia
This undated picture supplied by the Georgia Department of Corrections reveals inmate Willie James Pye.

Georgia Department of Corrections by way of AP


In their request for clemency, Pye’s legal professionals known as the 1996 trial “a surprising relic of the previous” and stated the native public defender system had extreme shortcomings within the Nineties.

Those failures of the native justice system had the impact of “turning accused defendants into convicted felons with all of the effectivity of Henry Ford’s meeting line,” Pye’s protection legal professionals wrote of their clemency utility.

“Had protection counsel not abdicated his function, the jurors would have realized that Mr. Pye is intellectually disabled and has an IQ of 68,” they stated, citing the findings of the state’s professional.

Defendants who’re intellectually disabled are ineligible for execution. Experts stated Pye meets the factors, however that the burden of proof in Georgia was too excessive to achieve, his legal professionals argued.

“They additionally would have realized the challenges he confronted from beginning — profound poverty, neglect, fixed violence and chaos in his household dwelling — foreclosed the potential for wholesome improvement,” they wrote. “This is exactly the sort of proof that helps a life sentence verdict.”

But the Georgia Parole Board rejected these arguments after a closed-door assembly on Tuesday and denied Pye’s bid for clemency.

How the homicide is alleged to have unfolded

Pye had been in an on-and-off romantic relationship with Yarbrough, however on the time she was killed Yarbrough was dwelling with one other man. Pye, Chester Adams and a 15-year-old had deliberate to rob that man and purchased a handgun earlier than heading to a celebration in a close-by city, prosecutors have stated.

The trio left the social gathering round midnight and went to the home the place Yarbrough lived, discovering her alone along with her child. They pressured their manner into the home, stole a hoop and necklace from Yarbrough and compelled her to come back with them, leaving the infant alone, prosecutors have stated.

The group drove to a motel the place they raped Yarbrough after which left the motel along with her within the automobile, prosecutors stated. They turned onto a dust street and Pye ordered Yarbrough out of the automobile, made her lie face down and shot her thrice, in keeping with court docket filings.

Yarbrough’s physique was discovered on Nov. 17, 1993, just a few hours after she was killed. Pye, Adams and {the teenager} have been rapidly arrested. Pye and Adams denied understanding something about Yarbrough’s dying, however the teenager confessed and implicated the opposite two.

The teenager reached a plea settlement with prosecutors and was the principle witness at Pye’s trial. A jury in June 1996 discovered Pye responsible of homicide, kidnapping, armed theft, rape and housebreaking, and sentenced him to dying.

Long historical past of authorized maneuvers

Pye’s legal professionals have argued in court docket filings that prosecutors relied closely on {the teenager}’s testimony however that he later gave inconsistent statements. Such statements, in addition to Pye’s testimony throughout trial, point out that Yarbrough left the house willingly and went to the motel to commerce intercourse for medication, the legal professionals stated in court docket filings.

Lawyers representing Pye additionally wrote in court docket filings that their shopper was raised in excessive poverty in a house with out indoor plumbing or entry to adequate meals, footwear or clothes. His childhood was characterised by neglect and abuse by members of the family who have been typically drunk, his legal professionals wrote.

His legal professionals additionally argued that Pye suffered from frontal lobe mind harm, doubtlessly attributable to fetal alcohol syndrome, which harmed his planning capability and impulse management.

Pye’s legal professionals had lengthy argued in courts that he needs to be resentenced as a result of his trial lawyer did not adequately put together for the sentencing part of his trial. His authorized staff argued that the unique trial lawyer didn’t do a adequate investigation into his “life, background, bodily and psychiatric well being” to current mitigating proof to the jury throughout sentencing.

A federal decide rejected these claims, however a three-judge panel of the eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Pye’s legal professionals in April 2021. But then the case was reheard by the total federal appeals court docket, which overturned the panel ruling in October 2022.

Pye’s co-defendant Adams, now 55, pleaded responsible in April 1997 to prices of malice homicide, kidnapping with bodily harm, armed theft, rape and aggravated sodomy. He bought 5 consecutive life jail sentences and stays behind bars.