ATLANTA (AP) — A day after carrying out the state’s eighth execution this year, authorities in Georgia on Thursday announced plans for another one.
William Sallie, 50, is scheduled to die by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital on Dec. 6, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in an emailed statement. Sallie was convicted of murder in the March 1990 slaying of his father-in-law, John Lee Moore.
Attorneys for Sallie say unfair juror bias at his trial has never been properly reviewed because of a missed court filing deadline. They are asking a federal judge to reopen his case and hold off on ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a pending case with similar issues.
Sallie and his wife, Robin, separated in December 1989, and she sought a divorce after he hit her with a belt, according to a Georgia Supreme Court summary of Sallie’s case. His wife took their 2-year-old son and went to live with her parents in rural Bacon County in south Georgia.
A short time later, during a visit to his son at his in-laws’ house, Sallie abducted the boy and took him to Illinois where he lived, the summary says. But a court gave his wife custody and she returned with their son to her parents’ house in February 1990.
Sallie returned to Georgia the next month and used a fake name to rent a mobile home several counties away from where his in-laws lived. He also had a friend in Illinois buy him a pistol.
Dressed in green camouflage, he cut his in-laws’ phone lines and broke into their house about 12:45 a.m. March 29, 1990. He went to the master bedroom and shot John and Linda Moore, the summary says.
Sallie’s lawyers described the shooting as a botched home invasion during which he intended to take his son.
John Moore was hit by six bullets, including two in his heart. Linda Moore was shot in the thumb, shoulder and both thighs.
Sallie ran outside to reload and fired two more shots through the window of the master bedroom, where his wife and her 17-year-old sister were trying to help their parents. Those shots didn’t hit anyone.
Sallie eventually went back into the house and handcuffed his wife’s 9-year-old brother and his injured mother-in-law to a bed rail. Sallie then took his wife and her sister to his mobile home, leaving his son behind, the summary says.
His wife’s mother and brother managed to free themselves after a few hours and got a neighbor to call police.
Sallie released his wife and her sister that night and was arrested a short time later.
A juror in Sallie’s trial lied during jury selection and failed to disclose traumatic experiences in her own past that were “bizarrely similar” to the case and later bragged to an investigator that she convinced other jurors to sentence Sallie to death, his lawyers said. When defense attorneys, who discovered this issue in 2012, tried to raise it in a federal appeal, they were denied because a filing deadline was missed years earlier while Sallie was trying to find attorneys to handle his post-conviction appeals.
In a court filing Tuesday, Sallie’s attorneys asked a federal judge to reopen his case, saying a ruling in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court could establish grounds for allowing Sallie’s federal appeal to go forward. But a ruling in that case may not come before Dec. 6.
Georgia has already executed eight inmates this year — most recently Steven Spears on Wednesday. That’s more than any other state, including Texas, which has executed seven inmates this year. It’s the most inmates the state has ever executed in a calendar year since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. Georgia executed five inmates last year and five in 1987.
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