Inmate scheduled to die tonight

ATLANTA --- A Georgia death row inmate's lawyers plan to launch a final bid to spare his life just hours before his scheduled execution tonight.

Samuel David Crowe's lawyer, Ann Fort, was to plead his case to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles this morning. He is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson, 45 miles south of Atlanta.

Mr. Crowe was sentenced to die after pleading guilty to robbing and killing 39-year-old Joseph Pala in 1988 at the Douglas County lumber store where Mr. Crowe used to work.

In a 25-page filing with the parole board, Ms. Fort said Mr. Crowe had stopped using cocaine the night of the killing and was in severe withdrawal.

Mr. Crowe, now 48, has been rehabilitated, she said, and has constantly tried to atone for the brutal murder.

She asked the board to commute Mr. Crowe's death sentence and provided a box of testimonials from his supporters, including friends, pastors, an ex-teacher and even a former corrections officer.