The Latest: Georgia high court declines to stop execution

ATLANTA (AP) – The Latest on the scheduled execution of a Georgia death row inmate (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Georgia’s highest court has declined to halt the scheduled execution of a man convicted of killing his 73-year-old neighbor 25 years ago.

J.W. Ledford Jr. is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday at a state prison in Jackson. The 45-year-old inmate was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of Dr. Harry Johnston in Murray County, northwest Georgia.

The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal of a lower court refusal to stop the execution.

Ledford’s lawyers had argued he was only 20 and his brain wasn’t done developing when he killed Johnston. Just as juvenile offenders are considered less culpable and not the “worst of the worst” for whom the death penalty is reserved, Ledford’s lawyers argued the execution of those under 21 is also unconstitutional.

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4:15 a.m.

Georgia is preparing to execute its first inmate this year, a man convicted of killing a 73-year-old neighbor.

J.W. Ledford Jr. is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday at a state prison in Jackson. The 45-year-old inmate was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of Dr. Harry Johnston near his home in Murray County, northwest Georgia.

Ledford told police he stabbed Johnston during an argument and then hid Johnston’s body and robbed Johnston’s wife at knifepoint.

Ledford’s attorneys have argued that execution by Georgia’s lethal injection drug would likely to cause the inmate extreme pain in violation of his constitutional rights. They have suggested using a firing squad instead, but that’s not allowed under Georgia law.

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