JACKSON, Ga. -- A man convicted of killing a convenience store clerk during a 1982 robbery became the first Georgia inmate to die by lethal injection Thursday.
Terry Mincey, 41, had been set to die in the electric chair until Oct. 5, when the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the chair violated the state constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
"At this point, I'd just like to thank the people who stood by me," Mincey told the 19 witnesses at the state prison in Jackson, about 50 miles south of Atlanta.
The electric chair used to put 441 Georgia inmates to death over the past 77 years was replaced by a gurney, upon which Mincey was strapped down as technicians inserted a needle into his arm.
Lawyers for Mincey, 41, had argued that his co-defendant, Timothy Jenkins, fired the shot that killed 38-year-old Paulette Riggs during a robbery.
Jenkins, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery and aggravated battery, testified for the state against Mincey. Jenkins was released from prison in August 1992.
Mincey was the 24th person executed by the state of Georgia since the death penalty was resumed in 1976.
The Georgia Supreme Court's ruling shifted all the state's executions to injection, which had already been adopted for crimes committed after May 2000.