Convicted Killer "Stocking Strangler" Executed

Georgia's “stocking strangler” rejects last meal; to be executed Thursday

DNA evidence proves Ga. man on death row not 'stocking strangler': Lawyer

Gary was convicted on three counts each of malice murder, rape and burglary for the 1977 deaths of 89-year-old Florence Scheible, 69-year-old Martha Thurmond and 74-year-old Kathleen Woodruff.

Written in his own hand, the convicted serial killer set for execution at 7 p.m. Thursday filed motions in Butts County, Ga., home of Georgia's death-row prison, claiming one of his lead attorneys, Michael McIntyre, is not qualified to represent him, and asking the court to appoint another counsel. Gary was the 48th inmate put to death by lethal injection.

In last-minute appeals, attorneys for Gary cited the same evidence used previous year while trying to get Gary a new trial or sentence in Muscogee Superior Court, where a judge rejected those motions in September, according to the newspaper.

Though Gary was charged only in those deaths, prosecutors say he attacked nine elderly women in the west Georgia city of Columbus in 1977 and 1978. Seven of the women were murdered in their homes, strangled with their own stockings, and two survived.

Gary's lawyers have argued physical evidence that exonerates him wasn't available at the time of trial, either because the necessary testing wasn't yet available or because the state didn't provide it.

Given the option to request a last meal, Gary opted for the standard institutional tray of a grilled hamburger, a hot dog, white beans, coleslaw, and a grape beverage. The upscale neighborhood where the weapon was found, was also where one of his victims lived, Fox News reported. That evidence would have raised reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors who convicted him, they contend. The United States Supreme Court has denied all previous appeals in the case.

Gary was sentenced to death in 1986 for the brutal murders of elderly women in the Wynnton/ Midtown area during the 1970's. Prosecutors also presented evidence that they said connected Gary to similar crimes in New York State.

"Mr. Gary is not the Columbus Stocking Strangler", his lawyers wrote in their March 9 appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. DNA analysis would have provided further evidence, they wrote, but it couldn't be done because the samples were discovered to have been contaminated at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab. Additionally, they say, bite mark and fingerprint evidence relied upon by the prosecution was problematic and a shoeprint found at one of the crime scenes doesn't match with Gary.

Bodily fluid testing done on semen found on Thurmond's body and on stains on Scheible's sheets also likely exclude Gary, his lawyers argue.

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