Condemned killer's lawyers seek mercy from Georgia Parole Board
John Wayne Conner's lawyers will plead with the State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday to stop his execution for the 1982 murder of a drinking buddy. After that, the Telfair County district attorney will ask the Board to allow the lethal injection to go forward.
Conner murdered J.T. White after the two men and Conner's girlfriend after a party in Eastman on Jan. 9, 1982.
At Conner's house after the gather, the three were not ready to call it a night.
But Conner, then 25, and White, 29, needed more bourbon, so they walked to a neighbor's house to ask for a ride to the liquor store.
The neighbor refused and they headed back to Conner's house.
On the way, White "made a statement about he would like to go to bed with my girlfriend and so I got mad and we got into a fight and fought all the way over to the oak tree and I hit him with a quart bottle," Conner told investigators according to court records.
White ran and Conner chased him into a roadside ditch.
"He was swinging, trying to get up, or swinging at me to try to hit me," Conner told detectives. "There was a stick right there ... and I grabbed it and went to beating him with it."
Conner, leaving White, went home.
He woke Bates and told her they had to leave town because he may have killed White. But he also needed to make sure, so they drove back to the place where they had fought.
Bates told investigators Conner walked into the woods and moments later she heard a thud. Conner returned to the car, telling her White was dead. "Let's go," he said.
Conner and Bates were picked up the next day in Butts County, where Georgia's Death Row is located.
Conner's scheduled lethal injection comes as the pace of executions in Georgia is increasing. Yet, death sentences are being rendered less often in Georgia.
At this time, Conner is the only Death Row inmate who has exhausted his appeals, though several others are nearing the end of legal recourse.
The last time Georgia carried out an execution was on April 27, when Daniel Anthony Lucas died by lethal injection 18 years and four days after he murdered Steven Moss and his two children in their Jones County home.
This year Georgia has also executed Joshua Bishop, Kenneth Fults, Travis Hittson and Brandon Astor Jones.
The only other times Georgia has put to death as many as five people in a year was in 2015 and in 1987.www.ajc.com