Clemency is denied for killer

ATLANTA --- Georgia's pardons rejected a bid for clemency on Thursday by a white supremacist set to be executed next week for the murder of one of his followers.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued no comment when it denied the request for clemency from inmate William Mark Mize, who is set to be put to death on Tuesday for the 1994 murder of Eddie Tucker.

The 52-year-old Mr. Mize was convicted in Oconee County Superior Court for fatally shooting Mr. Tucker after he failed to burn down what Mr. Mize considered to be a crack house in nearby Athens.

Mr. Tucker was a prospective member of the National Vastilian Aryan Party, a white supremacist group that prosecutors compare to the Ku Klux Klan. It was led by Mr. Mize, authorities say, and Mr. Tucker had filled out an application to join the group but was not yet a member.

Mr. Mize took Mr. Tucker to the woods and killed him with a shot to the head after Mr. Tucker failed to successfully light the house on fire, according to court records. Mr. Mize was convicted of murder on Dec. 12, 1995, and sentenced to death a day later.

In a string of unsuccessful state and federal appeals, Mr. Mize claimed there wasn't enough evidence to prove he had fired the shot and that prosecutors withheld evidence from a pretrial interview with a key witness.

He also complained that the state introduced "inflammatory, irrelevant evidence" about Mr. Mize's racist beliefs to prejudice the jury.

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that while evidence concerning a defendant's political or racial beliefs is normally irrelevant, the evidence was accepted because it explained Mr. Mize's motive for the murder.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2008 rejected Mr. Mize's appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court in March decided against hearing the case.