ATLANTA – A Georgia man scheduled for execution this week did not trigger the slaying for which he was condemned and shouldn’t be put to demise, his legal professionals argue.
Marion Wilson Jr., 42, is about to die Thursday. He and Robert Earl Butts Jr. have been convicted of homicide within the March 1996 slaying of Donovan Corey Parks in Milledgeville, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Atlanta.
Butts, who was 40, was executed final 12 months.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday declassified the clemency software Wilson’s legal professionals filed forward of a closed-door clemency listening to on Wednesday. The parole board is the one authority in Georgia that may commute a demise sentence.
Wilson’s legal professionals describe a childhood characterised by abuse, neglect and instability that led him to interact in legal habits that escalated as he obtained older. They argue his trial legal professionals did not current proof of mind impairments possible brought on by his mom’s use of medication and alcohol throughout being pregnant and did not counter prosecutors’ misstatements and exaggerations.
Whereas there was sufficient proof to convict him, it would not assist a demise sentence, Wilson’s legal professionals argue.
A witness heard Butts ask Parks for a trip at a Walmart retailer on March 28, 1996, prosecutors have mentioned.
Butts was within the entrance passenger seat and Wilson was within the again as they left the parking zone, in response to court docket filings. Parks’ physique was discovered mendacity face down on a close-by residential road a short while later. Butts and Wilson fled in Parks’ automobile, later burning it after attempting unsuccessfully to seek out somebody to purchase it, prosecutors mentioned.
“Marion Wilson admittedly should not have been in Donovan Parks’ car that night, but he was not the man who shot Mr. Parks causing his death,” Wilson’s legal professionals wrote.
Whereas Wilson suspected Butts deliberate to rob somebody, he did not know Butts meant to hurt or kill anybody, they wrote.
Former Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Lawyer Fred Vibrant, who prosecuted each males, testified below oath years later that he believed Butts was the shooter.
Through the sentencing part of Wilson’s trial, Vibrant advised jurors “without a shred of evidence” that Wilson shot Parks, Wilson’s legal professionals wrote. However through the sentencing part of Butts’ trial a 12 months later, Vibrant advised jurors the state had proved Butts pulled the set off.
“That the prosecution falsely maintained that Marion was the shooter in order to obtain the death penalty was, and still remains, highly unethical and contrary to the State’s higher duty of probity and truthfulness in any criminal proceeding,” Wilson’s legal professionals wrote.
Vibrant additionally exaggerated Wilson’s juvenile legal report and offered deceptive hypothesis on Wilson’s gang involvement, the clemency software says.
Vibrant died final 12 months. However Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who was the Baldwin County chief deputy sheriff when Parks was killed, mentioned Wilson known as himself the “enforcer” for a violent gang and that each males have been answerable for Parks’ demise.
“No, we don’t know which one of them pulled the trigger, but we do know without any doubt that Marion Wilson and Robert Earl Butts, acting in concert together as parties to the crime, robbed and murdered Donovan Parks,” Sills wrote in a letter to the parole board.
He wrote that Wilson has “lived one continuous life of crime” from the time he was very younger and “has demonstrated no respect for the law and astonishingly no respect for life itself.”
Earlier than Wilson’s trial, Vibrant provided him a plea deal that would come with the potential for parole, his legal professionals wrote, noting that Vibrant by no means provided Butts a deal.
Wilson’s legal professionals ask the parole board “to consider Marion’s rejection of the plea deal as the unsurprising response of an immature youth whose abysmal childhood and accompanying lack of judgment led him to make poor choices about the course of his life.”
They urge the board to offer him one other likelihood at a life sentence with the chance “to prove himself worthy of parole” or, alternatively, to resentence him to life in jail with out parole.
Wilson’s legal professionals are additionally looking for a brand new trial and DNA testing on the necktie worn by Parks. They are saying the necktie was essential to the prosecution’s argument that Wilson pulled Parks from the automobile and shot him.
A decide has rejected that request. Wilson’s legal professionals are asking the state Supreme Courtroom to halt his execution and listen to an attraction of the decrease court docket’s ruling.