At 7 PM tonight, John Wayne Conner will be put to death by the state by an injection of pentobarbital in Jackson, Georgia.
On January 9, 1982, Conner beat his friend J.T. White to death in Telfair County after White said he wanted to have sex with Conner’s then-girlfriend. Before Conner left Telfair County with his girlfriend, he stopped at the ditch he left White’s body in to ensure the job was finished, beating White with an oak tree branch and stabbing him with a stick.
White was the third person Conner murdered; one was killed when Conner was 15 and the second in 1981, just months before White was left in a ditch.
Georgia’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by White’s lawyers in a 5-2 decision. An appeal has been sent to the eight-member federal Supreme Court, though such Hail Mary efforts are routine and rarely meet with success.
Though barely halfway through 2016, Conner will be the 6th person the state has executed in 2016, a record in the modern era. In Georgia, executions have climbed in the last two years as European Union restrictions on exporting the crucial barbituate pentobarbital grind the machinery of death to a halt. Executions are outstripping sentences as no court in Georgia has imposed the death penalty in two years.
Clearing Death Row like the Red Army is closing in has been blamed for dangerous execution practices, including a nearly-botched execution in Georgia. In Oklahoma, the execution of Clayton Lockett lasted four times longer than previous executions, during which Lockett raised his head and murmured “Oh man…”, “I’m not…” before Lockett began twitching and fighting his restraints before succumbing to a heart attack.
Georgia does not have to disclose the origin or production standards of its execution drugs, per a state law that went into effect in 2013.