Originally created 10/18/01

Augusta man to die by lethal injection



ATLANTA - An Augusta man convicted of brutally murdering an 11-year-old boy more than two decades ago was scheduled Wednesday to become the second Georgian executed by lethal injection.

Corrections Commissioner Jim Wetherington announced that Jose Martinez High, part of a gang that launched a bloody spree of rape, robbery and murder in 1977, will be put to death Nov. 6.

He previously had been scheduled for execution in March. But Mr. High's was one of three cases stalled when the state's use of the electric chair was appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court on the grounds that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Earlier this month, the court ruled 4-3 that continuing the use of the electric chair was unconstitutional because a more humane method - lethal injection - existed and already was being phased in.

Mr. High, 45, was one of three men who robbed and kidnapped Henry Phillips and his 11-year-old stepson, Bonnie Bulloch, from a Taliaferro County service station July 26, 1977.

He shot both victims execution style. The 11-year-old died but Mr. Phillips survived.

Mr. High, who was 18 at the time of the crimes, was convicted in 1978 of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault.

He and several other men were accused of other crimes in a violent spree in and around Augusta in the summer of 1977.

"We're fully prepared," said Mike Light, a Department of Corrections spokesman. "The electric chair has already been removed and a gurney has been bolted down in its place."

Reach Doug Gross at (404) 589-8424 or mnews@mindspring.com.

What's next: Jose Martinez High is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Nov. 6.



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