US & Canada

US state Georgia executes its oldest death row inmate

This undated photo provided by the Georgia Department of Corrections shows Brandon Astor Jones in Georgia. Image copyright AP
Image caption Brandon Astor Jones died by lethal injection on Wednesday

The US state of Georgia has executed its oldest death row inmate, a 72-year-old man.

Brandon Astor Jones was sentenced to the death penalty 36 years ago, after being convicted of killing a shop manager during a robbery.

His execution was delayed by several hours after his lawyers filed a last-minute appeal with the Supreme Court.

Georgia has executed about 60 people since 1976, and has dozens of people on death row.

Jones was given a lethal injection in the early hours of Wednesday at a prison in Jackson, after accepting a final prayer.

He and another man, Van Roosevelt Solomon, were both convicted of the killing of store manager Roger Tackett during a robbery in 1979. Solomon was executed in 1985.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Lawyer Daniel Kolber led a small protest outside the prison against the death penalty

Jones's supporters argued that he had denied shooting Mr Tackett, and that the court had not considered evidence of mental illness and sexual abuse as a child.

In a statement issued before his execution, the Death Penalty Information Center said Jones was "two weeks short of his 73rd birthday" and that his case "raises questions of proportionality and discriminatory application of the death penalty".

A federal judge had overturned Jones's death sentence in 1989, saying that the jurors had improperly brought a Bible into the deliberation room, which could have influenced their decision.

Jones was re-sentenced to death in 1997.

Capital punishment in the US

  • The death penalty is a legal punishment in 31 US states
  • Nineteen US states have abolished the death penalty, the most recent was Nebraska in May 2015
  • Since 1976 Texas has carried out the most executions (533), followed by Oklahoma (112) and Virginia (111)
  • As of 1 October 2015, there were 2,959 inmates on death row in the US
  • California has the most prisoners on death row, 746, but has carried out only 13 executions since 1976

Analysis: Is the death penalty dying?

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