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Georgia killer executed after lethal injection moratorium

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Georgia executes inmate convicted of killing girlfriend in 1988
  • William Earl Lynd pronounced dead at 7:51 p.m., according to state official
  • Lynd's is first U.S. execution since Supreme Court upheld lethal injection
  • About a dozen other states are planning executions
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A Georgia man convicted of kidnapping and killing his girlfriend was executed Tuesday.

A Geogia official says executed killer William Earl Lynd did not make a final statement.

William Earl Lynd was the first inmate to die by injection since September, when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the three-drug combination represented cruel and unusual punishment.

The process began at 7:34 p.m. and ended 17 minutes later at 7:51 p.m., said Paul Czachowski, public affairs manager for the Georgia Department of Corrections. "The condemned declined to make a last statement or accept a prayer; he remained quiet and calm throughout the whole procedure," he said.

Lynd, 53, had requested as his last meal two pepper jack BBQ burgers with crisp onions, two baked potatoes with sour cream, bacon and cheese and a large strawberry milkshake -- all from a local restaurant.

The U.S. Supreme Court had refused to stay Lynd's execution hours earlier Tuesday.

"The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice [Clarence] Thomas and by him referred to the court is denied," the court said.

Georgia became the first state to resume executions since the court validated the lethal injection process last month with a ruling in a Kentucky case.

All but one of the 36 states with capital punishment use a three-drug mixture: an anesthetic, a muscle paralyzer and a heart-stopping substance. Death penalty opponents have argued that if inmates are not given enough anesthetic, they could be conscious enough to suffer excruciating pain without being able to express it because of the paralyzer.

The court's decision in the Kentucky case prompted about a dozen states to announce they would resume executions. Video Watch a report on the decision »

On Monday, Texas officials said they plan to execute Mexican-born Jose Medellin in August for the gang rape and murder of two teenage girls 15 years ago in Houston.

In Mississippi, authorities had planned to execute Earl Wesley Berry on Monday, but the state Supreme Court set the date for May 21.

Berry was convicted of kidnapping a woman from a church parking lot in 1987, beating her to death and dumping her body in a wooded area.

In the Georgia case, Lynd was convicted of fatally shooting his girlfriend, Virginia "Ginger" Moore, in Berrien County in 1988.

During the trial, prosecutors painted Moore's death as especially agonizing and lengthy.

According to trial testimony, Lynd shot Moore in the face, and she fell unconscious onto a bed. He then went outside to smoke a cigarette. Moore regained consciousness and staggered outside, where she was shot a second time and put into the trunk of her car.

After driving to a nearby farmhouse, Lynd said he heard Moore kicking inside the trunk, according to testimony. He opened the trunk and shot her a third time, this time fatally.

As the sentence was being carried out, about 20 opponents of the death penalty prayed and sang songs outside the prison, located 45 minutes south of Atlanta, said Laura Moye, chairwoman of Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

"We're here to express our opposition to the state of Georgia taking human life on behalf of U.S. citizens of Georgia," she said. "We are sad and upset that our state is leading the country in resumption of executions. We think this rush to executions is irresponsible in light of the many well-documented problems that have been revealed about the death penalty."

Human rights groups have also raised the possibility that an innocent person could be put to death. They pointed to Friday's release in North Carolina of Levan "Bo" Jones, an African-American inmate who spent 14 years on death row before a judge said the evidence was faulty and overturned his murder conviction. The charges have been dropped.

Georgia prosecutors, however, maintain that the death penalty is carried out fairly in their state.

"There's been no evidence in this state -- and I'm not aware of any in the country -- that any demonstrably innocent person has been put to death," said Tommy Floyd, chairman of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia.

"No prosecutor I know wants to execute an innocent person."

There have been 40 executions in the state since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, ruling in a Georgia case. Lynd was the 17th inmate executed by injection in the state.

In Virginia, a May 27 execution date has been set for death row inmate Kevin Green, and the state is proceeding on schedule, said David Clementson of the Virginia attorney general's office. Four executions are set in Texas for June and July; in Louisiana, former New Orleans police officer Antoinette Frank is set to die in July. If she is executed, she would be the first woman put to death in three years.

South Dakota, which has sent one inmate to death in three decades, has scheduled a lethal injection in October. Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois and Oklahoma have said they will resume capital punishment as soon as possible.


Nebraska is the only state that does not use lethal injection, but its use of the electric chair was ruled unconstitutional in February.

Texas and Mississippi are among the states that use 2 grams of sodium thiopental, the anesthetic used to render condemned inmates unconscious. Kentucky and other states use 3 grams, a standard that the Supreme Court judged to be constitutional.

CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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