McClain set to be executed today

Pending last-minute intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, an Augusta man convicted 14 years ago for killing a pizza store manager during a holdup will be executed today by lethal injection.

Mark Howard McClain, 42, is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. inside the maximum security Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. A Richmond County jury found Mr. McClain guilty of murder for shooting Kevin Brown, a Domino's Pizza shift manager, on Nov. 20, 1994.

Mr. McClain's lawyers at the Atlanta-based Georgia Resource Center have filed a consolidated motion for a stay of execution with the Georgia Supreme Court. The seven justices on the state's top court usually rule quickly on motions for a stay so that the federal court has time to act in the case of a denial from Atlanta.

The U.S. Supreme Court was already considering a motion for reconsideration of its Oct. 5 denial of an earlier appeal. In asking for a second look, Mr. McClain's lawyers argue that his case is similar to another one pending before the U.S. Supreme Court that is also from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta about whether an attorney in a capital-punishment trial should have pursued an insanity defense during the penalty phase of the trial.

State prison officials said Monday that Mr. McClain declined a special last meal and chose a regular supper of chicken and rice, carrots, beans, corn bread, collard greens, iced tea and bread pudding.

As officials inside the prison prepare to put him to death, capital punishment opponents have planned vigils across the state.

James Clark, coordinator for Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said his organization opposes any action by the state to execute individuals.

"We feel that it's really not in the state's power to take away any human life," Mr. Clark said. "We feel that the state shouldn't have that responsibility ..."

Mr. McClain would be the 23rd inmate put to death by lethal injection in Georgia.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com

More on execution

Protests: Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty have scheduled protest rallies today in nine Georgia cities, including one in Augusta at 6:30 p.m. at the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, 902 Greene St.

Witnessing death penalty: Reporter Sandy Hodson was a media witness during Jose High's 2001 execution

Read it online: The Augusta Chronicle will be on the scene for Mark McClain's 7 p.m. execution.