Brandon Astor Jones, a 72-year-old African American prisoner on death row in Georgia, was executed by lethal injection on February 3.
The oldest death row inmate in Georgia, Jones had spent decades in jail. He was convicted over the killing of a convenience store manager in an robbery in 1979. Van Roosevelt Solomon, who took part in the robbery and was also convicted of murder, as executed in 1985.
A federal district court overturned Jones' sentence in 1989. However, another jury sentenced Jones to death in 1997. Jones continued to appeal, saying his trial lawyers failed to introduce evidence of his history of mental illness and childhood sexual abuse, ,the Guardian said on February 3.
The US Supreme Court rejected a request from Jones' lawyers for a stay of execution on February 2. The Guardian said: “Georgia's Supreme Court and the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected Jones's petition to commute his sentence to life without parole.”
Jones' state-sponsored murder was the fifth execution carried out in the US so far this year.
Jones was a contributor throughout the 1990s and early 2000s to Green Left Weekly, writing a popular “Looking Out” column on his experiences on death row and the racist justice system in the US. Many Green Left readers corresponded with Jones. His murder by the state of Georgia is a further reminder on the barbarity and injustice of the death penalty.