GEORGIA — Convicted murderer J.W. Ledford, Jr. is set to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
Ledford Jr. is on a pain medication called gabapentin, his lawyer had argued a lethal injection could cause his client “to suffer an excruciating death” due to the drug.
“Mr. Ledford proposes that the firing squad is a readily implemented and more reliable alternative method of execution that would eliminate the risks posed to him by lethal injection,” attorneys said in a court filing. “In Utah’s most recent execution by firing squad, the inmate was seated in a chair set up between stacked sandbags to prevent the bullets from ricocheting. A target was pinned over the inmate’s heart. Five shooters set up at a distance of 21 feet from the inmate, armed with .30-caliber Winchester rifles. One rifle was loaded with blanks so that no one knew which officer killed the inmate. The inmate was pronounced dead two minutes after he was shot.”
“Plaintiff has waited until the eve of his execution to suddenly claim that he has been treated for pain with medication that will allegedly interfere with his execution,” state lawyers wrote. “If plaintiff really thought the firing squad was a reasonable alternative he could have alerted the State years, instead of 5 days, before his execution.”
Ledford Jr. was sentenced to death in Murry County with a jury selected from Gordon County in November 1992 for the murder of a neighbor he had known all his life, Dr. Harry Johnston Jr., 73.
On Jan. 31, 1992, Ledford went to the Johnston home and asked his wife, Antoinette, to speak to Mr. Johnston. He forced his way into the home at knife point, demanding money and guns. Mr. Johnston’s body was found later, his head nearly cut off and a knife in his back.
Last meal request: Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon with Pepper Jack cheese, large French fries, 10 chicken tenders with sauce, fried pork chop, bloomin’ onion, pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, sherbet and a Sprite.