Georgia executes man for 1993 murder in first execution since before the pandemic

Courts Supreme Court 071123 AP Patrick Semansky

Georgia executed a prisoner Wednesday night for the first time since January 2020 after the Supreme Court denied the delay earlier in the day.

Willie James Pye was executed at 11:03 p.m. Wednesday by lethal injection for the 1993 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Alicia Lynn Yarbrough, according to Georgia’s Department of Corrections.

He accepted a “final prayer and did not record a final statement,” according to the advisory.

Pye filed for a delay of his execution late Wednesday evening, arguing that the state has denied him due process and equal protection of the laws “by denying to a class of death-sentenced prisoners a benefit that they have explicitly extended to other death-sentenced prisoners in Georgia.”

“The potential injury is not only his death, but his early death pursuant to an arbitrary and unequal classification imposed by the State,” the court documents stated in the motion to halt the execution.

The state’s response to his appeal stated that the high court “should deny the petition and deny Pye’s request for a stay of his execution.”

According to data from the Department of Corrections, the last execution was held on Jan. 29, 2020. The Associated Press noted that there has been a four-year pause on executions in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic and legal arguments that were pursued afterward.

The Hill has reached out to Georgia’s Department of Corrections for comment.

The Associated Press contributed.

Story was updated at 11:31 p.m.

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