On Tuesday evening, Georgia executed a murderer who shot his 19-year-old next-door neighbor five times in the back of the head during a 1996 crime spree.
Warden Bruce Chatman told reporters in Georgia that murderer Kenneth Fults was pronounced dead at 7:37 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson from the effects of the barbiturate pentobarbital.
Fults pleaded guilty to killing Kathy Bounds in during a burglary in Griffin, Georgia — a small town about 40 miles south of Atlanta — after the teenager begged for her life and offered to give him her jewelry.
Instead, Fults forced her into the bedroom, covered her head with a pillow and electrical tape before shooting her repeatedly, according to prosecutors.
The murder came at the end of a weeklong series of crimes during which Fults also tried to kill his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
Fults refused to say any last words from the execution chamber but let a prayer be read over him. He received his last meal of steak, brown rice, baked potato and apple juice.
According to reporters present, Fults took several deep breaths as his body shuddered, then yawned and appeared to go to sleep.
Fults was the fourth person executed in Georgia this year and the 12th nationwide.
The state parole board refused a clemency request Monday, rejecting efforts by Fults’ lawyers to portray him as an abuse victim with an intellectual disability. They also claimed he had poor legal representation at the trial.
“Mr. Fults, the man, committed a terrible, tragic act when he killed Cathy Bounds,” his lawyers wrote to the Board of Pardons and Paroles. “But before the man existed, there was an innocent, vulnerable child in his place. And that child, Kenny, fell through the cracks.”
Fults’ last effort to avoid his death sentence failed earlier Tuesday when Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas rejected a request to stay the execution on the grounds of racial bias. One of the jurors at Fults’s murder trial, a white man in his 70s at the time and now dead, reportedly referred to Fults using the n-word during a later interview about the case.