Judge delays Wednesday execution of Georgia inmate

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 1:12 PM
Last updated 6:35 PM
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A judge on Tuesday delayed the execution of a Georgia death row inmate convicted of murdering an Albany woman after his attorneys asked for more DNA testing.

Marcus Ray Johnson
Marcus Ray Johnson

Macus Ray Johnson was set to die Wednesday for the 1994 rape and slaying of Angela Sizemore, but Dougherty County Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette halted the execution after hearing several hours of arguments.

It would have been the first execution in Georgia since Troy Davis was put to death two weeks ago in a case that garnered international protest after several witnesses disputed the testimony that helped convict him of killing a Savannah police officer in 1989.

Johnson’s defense attorney Brian Kammer said he was pleased with the decision. Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards said he plans to appeal the ruling.

Edwards said he is “100 percent sure” that Johnson raped and stabbed Sizemore to death outside an Albany nightclub in March 1994, and appeals courts have upheld his conviction and death sentence.

Johnson’s defense attorneys counter that there are “troubling inconsistencies” in the evidence presented at trial and claim eyewitness statements that linked him to the crime are unreliable.

They asked Lockette to order more DNA testing on samples collected at the scene, including saliva samples, fingernail clippings and several hairs collected from the scene that defense attorneys say weren’t tested.

Prosecutors say Sizemore and Johnson were together the night of March 23, 1994, at an Albany nightclub called Fundamentals, where Johnson was playing pool. The two were both drinking heavily, witnesses said, and soon they were spotted kissing in one of the booths. They were seen leaving the bar early the next morning, and headed south toward a bar where Johnson had worked.

The next day, a man walking his dog discovered her battered body inside her white SUV parked behind an Albany apartment complex. She had been stabbed 41 times with a small, dull knife and suffered severe internal injuries when she was sexually assaulted with a pecan tree branch.

Police quickly honed in on Johnson, and two witnesses told investigators they saw Johnson walking from the area where the victim’s SUV was parked. He was arrested less than 24 hours after the killing.

Johnson told authorities he led Sizemore to a grassy vacant lot where they had consensual sex, and that he then “kind of lost it” and punched her in the face during an argument. But Johnson said he immediately left after the argument and headed home to collapse on his front yard, where he woke up the next morning. He insisted that he did not kill her.

DNA testing matched the victim’s blood to Johnson’s leather jacket, and authorities said his pocketknife matched the wounds discovered on her body. He also had scratches on his hands, arms and neck. But Johnson’s lawyers say he wasn’t involved in the brutality that claimed her life. They say investigators never found her blood on his knife and only trace amounts of blood on his jacket.

The judge’s decision throws the execution into uncertainty. Lockette set a new hearing for February, but the lethal injection could still move forward this week if an appeals court overturns the decision. Edwards, the prosecutor, said he planned to file his appeal immediately.

“We certainly disagree with the judge’s ruling,” he said. “We believe the jury has spoken and that the evidence is clear.”

Comments (19) Add comment
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broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/04/11 - 01:30 pm
0
0
the system is set up to be
Unpublished

the system is set up to be crooked. a pardons board that votes secretly protects the governor and themselves and the system from any accountability. the troy davis wrongful execution (wrongful for numerous reasons from investigation through appeals regardless of the strength of any reader's hunch or outrage or access to capital letters on the keyboard) should end the death penalty in the state, but this is the south. we've found ways to keep lynching (courts) and slavery (prison labor). we've already risen, y'all.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 10/04/11 - 01:54 pm
0
0
I certainly don't see prison

I certainly don't see prison labor as slavery. Hard work is good for the soul. Prisoners need to work, learn how to be responsible, if they had learned that on the outside they probably would have never went to prison to start with. I for one would rather see them working and earning their keep than sitting on their behinds getting three hots and watching Oprah.....prison is not a hotel stay, it is not a resort, if you don't want to go to prison then stop commiting crimes. I have no sympathy for criminals. We all make decisions in life and we all face the consequences of those decisions. The death penalty is deserving in some cases but I do have a problem with dealth penalty cases where there is a slight chance that a person may not be guilty, but in cases where there is solid evidence such as DNA or being caught red handed then they deserve to die. The death penalty may not be a deterent to crime but being lenient certainly isn't. People need to stop blaming the man or blaming the system and let the blame land where it should, in the hands of criminals.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/04/11 - 02:05 pm
0
0
I'm more concerned with the
Unpublished

I'm more concerned with the wrongful execution of Mark MacPhail and the wrongful execution of Angela Sizemore.

highhp57
0
Points
highhp57 10/04/11 - 02:12 pm
0
0
Taxpayers have fed, clothed,

Taxpayers have fed, clothed, provided medical care and attorneys for this waste of oxygen since 1994. Fry him and send me the bill.

vint100
0
Points
vint100 10/04/11 - 02:27 pm
0
0
No physical evidence, and you

No physical evidence, and you still execute someone. If you are going to carry out the law, make sure you do it right.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 10/04/11 - 02:38 pm
0
0
Slavery? Now that is a word

Slavery? Now that is a word of hyperbole to deliberately incite with. I wish they would treat them more as was depicted in "Cool Hand Luke"( I watched that for about the 25th time the other night). Let them do something useful to make restituiton for their crimes.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/04/11 - 02:45 pm
0
0
what leads someone to be more
Unpublished

what leads someone to be more concerned with victims of murders than with victims of wrongful execution? i myself feel sad and angry for both, but more responsible for one.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/04/11 - 02:47 pm
0
0
i cannot imagine what kind of
Unpublished

i cannot imagine what kind of awareness program could ever interest the masses in fear of wrongful execution if all the millions of crosses in this land can't do it.

Dixieman
12942
Points
Dixieman 10/04/11 - 02:52 pm
0
0
Maybe if he had stabbed her

Maybe if he had stabbed her 42 times we could execute him tomorrow?

windy_city_dweller
0
Points
windy_city_dweller 10/04/11 - 03:00 pm
0
0
I concur with vint100 that in

I concur with vint100 that in order for the execution to have validity, there must be physical evidence present that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately - the way death penalty is established -circumstantial evidence is enough to convict and carry out an execution. I wonder if the Supreme Court will have at some point enough backbone to revisit this flaw in the system. Allowing for post-conviction DNA testing is a step in the right direction, not only limited testing but full-scale. Circumstantial evidence can be and has been found to be abused by over-zealous prosecutors "carving" a name for themselves. If any state is going to spend millions of dollars practicing capital punishment than in the name of justice and fairness, reliance on circumstantial evidence must be taken out of the equation.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/04/11 - 03:03 pm
0
0
"I certainly don't see prison

"I certainly don't see prison labor as slavery. Hard work is good for the soul." "Slavery? Now that is a word of hyperbole to deliberately incite with"

Privatized prisons who have to have a steady stream of fresh labor force to turn a profit. Guilt not necessary, poor people who can't afford a lawyer only. Yes slavery as witnessed in what happened in the state of New Jersey with innocent kids being imprisoned and a crooked judged going to jail.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/11/mark-ciavarella-jr_n_924324.html

georgepeters
13
Points
georgepeters 10/04/11 - 03:05 pm
0
0
I believe any able bodied

I believe any able bodied person that the government supports should have to work for what they receive. After all, the government does not have any money that it does not take from working people, so it is not government money that they hand out so freely. What logic is there that criminals should not have to work. Are we to assume they are just on welfare. Or is it only that certain people people should work to provide for those who do not. I know there will be those who will respond that I must not have a heart since there are many people who need help and cannot work, or are sick. This argument is not valid, since it only the working people that take care of these the needs of these people. Just how much is done for them by the takers.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/04/11 - 03:08 pm
0
0
I may get passionate over

I may get passionate over certain crimes, but I stand against the death penalty as there have been too many cases where a person on death row by circumstantial evidence, as in this case, has been found to absolutely NOT be the killer. Keep him incarcerated forever if you choose, but once you've killed and find you've got the wrong man, you can't bring him back. I just can't buy the "it's OK to kill a few possibly innocent people along the way" defense of the death penalty. We stand alone among the industrialized nations in this form of punishment and still have the highest rate of murder. It deters no one who seriously chooses to murder.

KSL
121842
Points
KSL 10/04/11 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Oh, but it does. Put him to

Oh, but it does. Put him to death and he certainly will not murder again. From that standpoint, it is a deterrent.

windy_city_dweller
0
Points
windy_city_dweller 10/04/11 - 04:57 pm
0
0
Death penalty has been

Death penalty has been disproven to serve as a detterent to violent crime everywhere it is practiced. Death penalty proponents seem not to see that this term applies to others looking at someone on death row and saying "I better not do this because I may end up there." This term does not refer to an already convicted person sentenced to death. The increasing and steady rate of murders in the many states that practice capital punishment, is evidence that detterence of the death penalty is a myth. So is the closure issue that many believe occurs when a person is executed, but that is another discussion altogether...

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/04/11 - 05:14 pm
0
0
bsnm re your 1445.......due
Unpublished

bsnm re your 1445.......due process and 17 years later they are still guilty. That's why my concern is for the victims of these murdering parasites.

rmwhitley
5526
Points
rmwhitley 10/04/11 - 05:40 pm
0
0
The boy needs to live with
Unpublished

The boy needs to live with kammer until there's a resolution to the case.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 10/04/11 - 06:06 pm
0
0
A pecan tree branch? Wow...

A pecan tree branch? Wow...

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 10/04/11 - 07:00 pm
0
0
I just punched her in the
Unpublished

I just punched her in the face....I don't know how that blood got there....what do you mean my pocketknife matches the stab wounds?

Yeah...no physical evidence...

happychimer
16039
Points
happychimer 10/04/11 - 09:00 pm
0
0
I read somewhere that his

I read somewhere that his lawyers requested dna testing. If that can prove his guilt or innocence, go for it.

happychimer
16039
Points
happychimer 10/04/11 - 09:06 pm
0
0
I find myself slowly becoming

I find myself slowly becoming against the death penalty. There are too many innocent men executed. If it saves just one innocent person, the death penalty should end. Right now, I don't like the death penalty, except when there is no doubts of guilt, and plenty of physical evidence.

shrimp for breakfast
5422
Points
shrimp for breakfast 10/05/11 - 01:51 am
0
0
Myfather15 you raise a lot of

Myfather15 you raise a lot of interesting points. I am glad I am a law abiding citizen because I would not want you on the jury where my fate was decided.
Hey they charged him so he must be guilty!
That's scary.
You say not to mention Casey Anthony. Ok how about the West Memphis three.
I challenge you to look up Project Innocence. You would not believe how many people have been freed from death row. The worst possible scenerio would be a DA with political aspirations who needs a conviction on a certain case. Doesn't matter if they're guilty or not. Someone just needs to be convicted so I can run for office.
This country has outgrown the death penalty. It's only a matter of time.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/05/11 - 10:36 am
0
0
Shrimp what is scary to me is

Shrimp what is scary to me is that mindset of someone who claims the profession of an officer of the law. I am very glad the person making those claims lays no claim to working in my jurisdiction.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/05/11 - 11:51 am
0
0
myfather - two more men are

myfather - two more men are added to the long list of "murderers" who were freed on the basis of DNA and other evidence that show they could not possibly have been the ones to commit the crime.

One was a devoted husband and father who served 25 years in jail after being railroaded for the horrible murder of his wife which DNA now shows a convicted felon convicted in several states committed the murder while the husband was at work.
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20115315-504083.html

A California man, after serving 17 years in jail, was found to be innocent of a murder he was convicted of when evidence came forth that the state's star witness, a pimp, lied and that the convicted man was not even at the scene of the murder.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/10/05/man-released-17-years-after-being-w...

There is the case of a man who was executed in 2004 for what was deemed an arson in which his three children died. All findings by experts show that the local fire investigator was improperly trained and that the fire was accidental.
http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Cameron_Todd_Willingham_Wrongful...

I will have to agree with shrimp, not only would I not want you on my jury due to obvious bias before all evidence is even considered, I definitely would not want you working on a case of this nature.

happychimer
16039
Points
happychimer 10/05/11 - 12:40 pm
0
0
Politics has nothing to do

Politics has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. If new info comes out that could prove innocence, it should be allowed to go forward. Why suppress it? Again, it has nothing to do with politics.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 10/07/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
myfather - I notice that this

myfather - I notice that this evening's post has a much less bias slant than many you have posted in the past. As to you being one of my officer's either you were lying when you said you didn't work for RC or you are lying by implication now. I personally know and respect all the beat cops for my neighborhood and most of the ones for the downtown beat.

I will take you at your word that you are unbiased, but many of your posts in the past have definitely indicated a very strong bias against certain classes of people, which does give one concern.

"racist, ideologue" - LOL you know nothing about me other than I follow humanitarian ideology honed initially honed from the teachings of Jesus I learned as a kid about justice, mercy, loving all mankind. What race am I? Which race am I supposedly racist against? The fact that I stand up against racist language does not make me a racist. You may not have noticed, but I've stood up against racist speech against all races - whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, middle easterners.

Hard core right wingers have spewed some pretty silly garbage themselves. That said I fully support our police force and honest unbiased policing. In my life I've seen some pretty questionable things happen in all professions. Problem is when a police officer goes rogue, he can completely ruin someone's life, seriously injure or even kill them, as seen in the recent beating death of a mentally ill man (a police officer's son as a matter of fact) who was not resisting arrest (as caught on film) in California.

You have not read many of my posts if you missed the multiple posts I have made in support of RC police and decrying all the cuts made to the force and the inequitable distribution of force officers.

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