Supreme Court Grants Temporary Stay of Execution of Black Georgia Man

Georgia man scheduled to be executed requests meats, fried food for last meal

Tharpe's lawyers have asked the courts to stop the execution, saying his death sentence is tainted by a juror's racial bias.

Keith Leroy Tharpe, also known as "Bo", 59, was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Georgia, on Tuesday night, a day after the 27-year anniversary of his crime.

Tharpe was scheduled to be executed this evening. Just before 11 p.m. EDT, the court announced the temporary stay. On the morning of September 25, 1990, Tharpe intercepted his estranged wife and Freeman - who was married to Tharpe's wife's brother - as they drove to work.

Years after Tharpe's trial, a juror freely used a racial slur when he was interviewed by Tharpe's legal team, according to filings by Tharpe's lawyers.

Gattie said that he had not used the word "nigger" as an insult, despite its extremely racist connotation and his having signed an affidavit in which his comments were reproduced. Lawyers for the state have argued there's no evidence race affected jury deliberations. The juror racial bias claim has already been decided and is barred by evidence rules, they argue.

There have been 69 men and one woman executed in Georgia since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Tharpe's wife left him on August 28, 1990, taking their four daughters with her to live with her mother.

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In February, the high court suspended the execution of a Texan who had been cast during his trial as being potentially more risky because he was black.

Tharpe was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of Jacquelin Freeman.

In a clemency application, Tharpe's lawyers described a tough childhood and an extensive history of substance abuse that they say included getting black-out drunk by age 10 and a debilitating crack cocaine habit.

Besides being patently unfair to Tharpe, the case is yet more proof of how flawed the administration of the death penalty is in the United States.

"Because I knew the victim and her husband´s family and knew them all to be good black folks, I felt Tharpe, who wasn´t in the "good" black folks category in my book, should get the electric chair", Gattie said.

The Georgia Department of Corrections had last week revealed his final meal before being executed, requesting "three spicy chicken breasts, a roast beef sandwich with sauce, a fish sandwich, potato wedges, onion rings, apple pie and a vanilla milkshake".

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