Thursday, June 10, 2010

Georgia executes Melbert Ray Ford

Authorities say a Georgia man convicted of the 1986 shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her 11-year-old niece has been executed.

Melbert Ray Ford (left), 49, died by lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson, the Georgia Department of Corrections said Wednesday.

Department spokeswoman Kristen Stancil says the time of death was 7:27 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court had early Wednesday denied a last motion by Ford's lawyer to delay the execution. The Georgia Supreme Court had previously voted unanimously to deny a similar appeal.

Prosecutors say Ford was seeking revenge when he killed Martha Chapman Matich and her niece Lisa Chapman. They say Ford began harassing her with phone calls after the couple broke up and also told friends he wanted to kill her.

Ford becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Georgia and the 47th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1983.

Only Texas (459), Virginia (107), Oklahoma (92), Florida (69), and Missouri (67) have carried out more executions in the USA since the death penalty was re-legalized on July 2, 1976.

Ford becomes the 26th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1214th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin, June 9, 2010