Ray Jefferson Cromartie

15 November 2019 :

Ray Jefferson Cromartie, 52, Black, was pronounced dead in Georgia at 10:59 p.m. on 13 November 2019 after an injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson, authorities said in an emailed statement. Cromartie was sentenced to die on 1st October 1997 for the 10 April 1994 slaying of Richard Slysz at a convenience store. The state said Cromartie had also shot and gravely wounded another convenience store clerk days before the killing. Cromartie, when asked if he had any last words, declined to make a statement. He did allow a prayer to be recited on his behalf, however. Once the drugs began flowing, the inmate took some deep breaths, exhaling deeply before he went still. Cromartie had insisted through his attorneys that he didn't shoot either clerk. The defense lawyers had also recently asked state and federal courts to allow DNA testing of evidence collected from the shootings that they say could prove he wasn't the shooter. The state countered that the DNA evidence being sought couldn't prove his innocence. Evidence at trial showed Cromartie borrowed a handgun from his cousin 7 April 1994, entered the Madison Street Deli that night and shot clerk Dan Wilson in the face, seriously injuring him. Wilson couldn't describe his attacker and surveillance camera footage wasn't clear enough to conclusively identify the shooter. Days later on April 10, Cromartie and Corey Clark asked Thaddeus Lucas to drive them to another store to steal beer, testimony showed. Lucas parked, and the other 2 entered the Junior Food Store. Cromartie shot Slysz twice in the head, prosecutors say. Unable to open the cash register, Cromartie and Clark fled after Cromartie grabbed 2 12-packs of beer. In both cases, Cromartie told others he had shot the clerks, evidence showed. Lucas and Clark testified against Cromartie at the September 1997 trial that concluded with his death sentence. Lucas and Clark each pleaded guilty to lesser charges, served prison time and were released. Cromartie's lawyers had sought DNA evidence including testing on shell casings from both shootings, clothing found near the first shooting site and clothing samples from Slysz. The DNA testing could prove Cromartie wasn't the shooter, his lawyers had argued. A judge last month found it unlikely that DNA testing would lead to a different verdict. The judge also said Cromartie waited too long to request testing and failed to show he wasn't just trying to delay his execution. Georgia’s Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of that ruling. Cromartie was the third person executed by Georgia this year, the 75th since the state resumed executions in 1983, the 20th this year in the USA, and the 1,510th person executed in the United States since 1977.


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