* UPDATE - JULY 12, 2002 *
The Board of Pardons and Paroles reconsidered Wallace "Buck" Fugate's case, even though the board members are opposing Wallace in an appeal pending in the Georgia Supreme Court.
At the hearing, Jamie Lee Roach, 21, described how as a child she got to know Fugate because he went out with her mother, who he met when she sold him a car. She was incredibly eloquent in describing how poor the family was after being abandoned by the father. When Mr. Fugate came along he became the father figure to her and her younger sister; she still regards him as her father. He took care of his family, renovated the house they lived in and seen that they ate every meal together as a family, something she had never done before. She told how he would take her, her sister, and other children out for ice cream. It didn't matter to him if they were white, black, mexican, or whatever, he took us all. She went on to state this would not have been a big deal for most kids, but as poor as they all were, it was a luxury they very seldom could afford. This thumbnail sketch does not begin to do justice to the moving and eloquent statement that she made.
David Aldridge, 48, contractor and former employer, talked about how talented and hard working Mr. Fugate was and how he came to regard him as more than just another employee. He also asked the board to show mercy and let Fugate live because he was such a good man to society and everyone he came in contact with loved him.
Milton Al Brown, 82, friend for 25 years and supervisor for 10, said Fugate was a workaholic; regularly brought his wife to his farm to ride horses while he watched their young son so his wife could enjoy her rides.
Wynndale Woodall, 46, friend and neighbor, made the following statement:
To the Parole Board of the State of Georgia.
Buck Fugate is a good neighbor and damn fine human being. One who didn’t sell drugs or steal in our neighborhoods or anywhere else, he didn’t cause turmoil or violate one’s civil rights or didn’t act racist. Buck didn’t involve himself in the complexities of a family squabble unless it was to take a load off of them by supplying a helping hand in building or gardening. Buck you could say had a green thumb and was concerned about people old and young alike.
I’m Wynndale Elon Woodall, I was born in Thomaston Georgia, raised in Bibb County witnessed my first murder, my uncle by his stepson, at the age of 12 in Twiggs County. I had trouble in school after that and at 16 I joined the U.S.M.C. and became a radio-operator, later a disabled Vietnam-era Veteran, and was discharged.
At 22 my 19-year-old brother was murdered outside a club I worked at, and I eventually moved from a stressful city to the more peaceful surroundings and decided to raise my family in Twiggs County. In 1989 I became a Certified Volunteer Fire and Rescue person there with my wife and our children. I headed a team that has helped the Sheriff's Offices and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation search for bodies and vehicles in the counties rivers, lakes and quarries all over Georgia as a certified S.C.U.B.A. Instructor. My doctors said my continuation of scuba diving was good for the recovery of the knee I injured at the base in 1985.
I first met Buck, his wife and son, on some of the most challenging Georgia clay rural roads ever constructed, those without gravel or asphalt or proper drain-off. Rain often destroying the three and a half-mile street we had as a driveway to a main road.
Moving to this area was like living in the farthest regions of a jungle terrain where neighbors had no one to depend on but themselves. To go to work, to shop, to go to schools, to get medical help was often impossible and nine time out of ten Mr. Buck Fugate was there. He also pulled fellow neighbors, rescue and fire vehicles out of county maintained ditches often making him late for work. He didn’t have to do this and there were others in the neighborhood with four-wheel drives who would noticeably looked the other way. Buck often even helped them with a tractor when they became so stuck even they couldn’t get out.
After becoming disabled at Warner Robins AFB and having surgery, five in all, I’d see Buck and his wife often in the neighborhood. He would help my mentally and physically disabled father in the garden when I couldn’t. Being bored and in trying to get well, I decided to build an extra room onto my trailer. Buck Fugate got word of it (probably from my family) and decided to come-by and see if he could give me a hand to help ease my load.
Seeing me trying to mix concrete in a wooden mixing platform Buck volunteered to loan me an expensive hand-made concrete mixer to mix the concrete to do the job. This took a lot of slow tedious work off of me. That was the type of person Buck Fugate was - a helper in his community.
Buck Fugate should be spared. Taking his life has no justifiable means and I also feel Buck Fugate can be rehabilitated in time and can be a productive member to society. How do I know this?
Well . . .
October 19, 1978 - Lyndon Aubon Jay Woodall, my brother, was premeditatedly murdered. I was there at the scene. His murderer was Nelson Reynolds Crenshaw.
Jay was my little brother and I was taught that above all else, as an older brother of three - I was their protector, their guide and they came before my desires, my wants, even my needs at times.
Nelson Crenshaw had been an armed robber of drugstores, had assaulted many people, and was on parole when he murdered my brother.
I was told by the justice system to let them handle it. Other police officers said if it were their brothers that they would take drastic measures of retaliation. For years I followed him in the system, hated this man and that hate ate at some of the very best parts of me to the point that I often didn’t know who I was. One day I made a choice and decided that my brother wouldn’t want me to turn into what this person had become. I came face to face with him, forgave him as my mother had. A great weight lifted and I let go, finding my inner peace, asking him not to let my brother die in vain. Reynolds is a productive member in society now. I see him often. There are those who still question my forgiveness. To those I have but one thing to say: The answer lies inside themselves with their Creator.
I plea for Buck Fugate’s life because he’s a good person, capable of becoming something greater than most due to his love for the old and disabled, like my father, in that field, whose mind was bad and for those others he helped without asking for pay. A man like Buck Fugate is irreplaceable and only found in certain places. Don’t judge Buck for that instance of what can only be insanity. I believe with therapy and counseling Buck can rehabilitate, like the man who took my brother’s life. Why do I ask this? I personally believe in it, and it’s something my brother would’ve asked for. That’s what kind of person Jay Woodall was, he as I, was a forgiver. We see things other people fail to notice . . . their souls.
And if I didn’t believe Buck Fugate could be changed I wouldn’t be here before you wasting your time or my time.
The people of the United States had asked me to let the law handle my brothers murder. Ones that later asked me to forgive him and to forget too, when they turned him loose. I’m asking for reciprocity from you here for Buck.
Murdering Buck Fugate will not accomplish anything. The Buck Fugate that I know is not a cold and callused murderer, thief or robber, he is a loving human being, one many will miss.
Statements from three other friends and co-workers were presented by video (Jack Deason, Grady Smith, Bertha Woodall).
Shelly Senterfitt, former director, Georgia Commission on Family Violence, compared this case with others (see charts below which were given to board and used in her presentation).
At the outset, lawyers for Wallace Fugate objected to the hearing being held at all, saying that the board and its members had been engaged in legal maneuvers against Mr. Fugate earlier this very week -- first adopting its previous pleadings as its brief on Tuesday, then purporting to dismiss the appeal on Wednesday.
Counsel also asked for disclosure of the names of all people who have had contact with the board, what information was conveyed to the board, etc. When the advocates for Mr. Fugate arrived, they were given letters the board received in support of clemency, THE BOARD REFUSED TO GIVE ANY INFORMATION REGARDING WHO OPPOSED CLEMENCY.It was pointed out that Gov. Roy Barnes has said that after August 1st, all contacts with the board members shall be made public. There is no reason that should not be the case now since the board may have been provided incorrect information and Mr. Fugate has no chance to correct it.
CASES MORE AGGRAVATED
IN WHICH DEATH NOT IMPOSED
* Sidney Dorsey - ordered the execution-style murder of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown in order to prevent an investigation of corruption at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office during Dorsey’s tenure. Also convicted of 11 counts racketeering and other corruption. Trial lasted 20 days – 10 times longer than Wallace Fugate’s. District Attorney did not seek the death penalty.
* Fred Tokars - arranged the slaying of his wife to cover up his racketeering and money laundering activities. Hired gunmen forced the victim and her children into a car and shot her in the head at close range, splattering her two young sons with bits of her brain. Sentenced to life in prison.
* Phillip Hayes - strangled his victim, the mother of his child, to death; burned her body beyond recognition, wrapped the chard remains together with a cinder block in a comforter, tied it together with electrical cord and threw it into a lake. Sentenced to life in prison.
* Winston Henry Mosher - beat 81-year-old victim who gave Mosher a ride with a screwdriver, kicked him, broke his jaw in pieces, and nearly severed his ear, dragged him into the woods where victim died of asphyxia. Two life sentences without parole.
* Bobby Huff - sexually molested and strangled 11-year-old niece to death. Three life sentences without parole.
* Ronnie Jack Beasley - enticed victim in order to steal his truck, threw a sheet over him, hit him over the head with a beer mug, placed a plastic bag over his head, asphyxiated him, stole his truck and used it to kidnap another man. Sentenced to life in prison without parole for malice murder.
* Benjamin Black - exchanged racial slurs with the victim, followed and caught him, beat him and stabbed him twice in the abdomen, killing him. Later committed aggravated assault and battery on another victim. Life imprisonment.
* Khampahay Somchith - murdered the mother of his son with whom he had lived for four years. Shot victim in the chest, through the arm, down her lip and through her chin, and a contact shot through her temple. Earlier that month he had stabbed her in the chest, and in a separate incident, attacked her new boyfriend with a crowbar. Sentenced to life in prison.
* Clarence Smith - broke into apartment where ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend were sleeping, shot the boyfriend 11 times, hit her in the head with the pistol and kicked her in the side. Sentenced to life for malice murder and ten years for aggravated assault.
SIMILAR CASES IN WHICH DEATH NOT IMPOSED
* William Cullen Cash - threatened to kill his wife from whom he was separated, broke into her house, and killed her with a single gunshot wound. Claimed the shooting was accidental in the course of a struggle. Jury found an aggravating factor (murder while in the course of committing burglary) and that he had broken into the house intending to kill his wife. Sentenced to life in prison for murder and an additional twenty years for burglary.
* Paul Wilson - murdered his former girlfriend, struck her on the head multiple times as she sat on the floor with her hands bound with electrical cord, fractured her skull, splattering blood on the walls and doors. Received life without parole for malice murder.
* Frank Cain, Jr. - shoot his estranged wife’s friend during an argument with his wife about their children. The prosecution (Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit) originally charged murder, but the charge was reduced to voluntary manslaughter and he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
* Willie Johnson - shot and killed estranged girlfriend, who was shot during the course of an altercation with Mr. Johnson as he tried to pull her away from her friends and had a gun in his hand. The prosecution (Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit) did not seek the death penalty. Sentenced to life imprisonment.
* Keith McKissick - killed wife by stabbing multiple times. The prosecution (Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit) did not seek the death penalty. Sentenced to life imprisonment.
* Andrew Tyrone Miller - murdered his wife after she kicked him out of the house for having affairs with other women, shot her in the head, neck, chest and abdomen with a 9mm pistol. Sentenced to life in prison for malice murder and five years each for related crimes.
* Wilbur Smith - murdered former live-in girlfriend, stalked her, hid in bushes, shot at her, chased her, she died of a gunshot wound to the heart. Sentenced to life in prison.
* Toney Massengale - beat his girlfriend in the face, strangled her, tied her body in a fetal position and buried it in a shallow grave. Sentenced to life in prison.
* Matthew Wessner - broke into ex-wife’s apartment, she tried to hide in the closet, he pulled her out, pleading for her life, shot her twice and then shot her lover twice in the back of the head and once in the body. Sentenced to two concurrent life sentences.
* Jackie Jay Roller - after continually threatening and harassing his ex-wife, he stopped her car in the supermarket parking lot, shot her in the back, and left her in a pool of blood as he drove off. Sentenced to life in prison plus five years.
* Emmaneul Fletcher - killed former girlfriend’s new boyfriend, hit him, stabbed him in the heart, the aorta and in each lung. Sentenced to life in prison for malice murder.
EXECUTION IN GEORGIA SINCE 1973
* Smith - execution-style murder for insurance proceeds.
* Stanley - plotted robbery for several weeks, robbed victim at gunpoint, took to the woods, struck his head with a hammer, tied him to a tree, made him lie in a shallow grave, beat and jabbed him with a shovel in the head, throat and chest, shot him in the mouth and buried him alive while victim was pleading for life. Co-defendant Joseph Thomas sentenced to death but reversed and sentenced to life imprisonment.
* Stephens - escaped from prison, prior convictions for burglary, kicked and beat victim, who was crippled, while he begged for his life, took money from victim, drove him three miles, placed gun to ear and fired twice.
* Green - escaped from prison, prior convictions, abducted eighteen-year-old girl, raped her, shot her in the abdomen with a rifle as she tried to protect herself, shot her in the face, left her in the woods to bleed to death.
* Solomon - many prior convictions, robbed victim, beat him in the face, shot him twice in the hip, once in the thumb, once in the face, and finally in the back of the head.
* Young - burglarized and assaulted six elderly homeowners in a single night, robbing them of jewelry, beating, kicking and stomping them.
* Bowden - broke into neighbor’s home, killed his first victim by beating her so hard in the face with the gun she was unrecognizable, and after she was dead, buried a butcher knife deep in her chest. Beat her bedridden mother savagely and left bleeding on her bed for several days.
* Mulligan - spent the night before the murder planning, shot his brother-in-law through the left eye and the victim’s girlfriend four times at close range as they rode in a car together.
* Tucker - prior convictions, abducted victim from hospital parking lot, drove to secluded area, robbed her, killed her by hitting her in the head with an iron pipe, stripped her body, burned her clothes, and took her car.
* Tucker - robbed convenience store, abducted clerk, and killed her by stabbing her four times.
* Mitchell - robbed a IGA store, put manager’s fourteen-year-old son and wife in cooler, shot both repeatedly.
* McCorquodale - committed numerous acts of sodomy and torture on 17-year old victim over a long period.
* Messer - stabbed and beat eight-year-old niece in face so severely that it was unrecognizable and slashed her abdomen five times. Spermatozoa were found near the victim’s vaginal area.
* Willis - after committing an armed robbery, abducted police officer, took him to a remote location, shot him as he tried to flee several times in the head.
* McCleskey - during the robbery of a furniture store, killed a policeman who had entered by shooting him in the face and chest.
* Burger & Stevens - robbed a cabdriver of $16 using a butcher knife, sodomized him, placed him in the trunk, and released the car into the water. The victim drowned, still in the trunk.
* Hance - murdered a stranger by smashing her face and skull so completely with a tire jack that her face was missing and her brain was removed from her skull. Also committed other murder.
* Ingram - entered victims' home and demanded money and the keys to their truck, took them behind the house, tied them to a tree with rope and wire while they begged for their lives, and shot them in the head. Previous crimes include kidnapping, battery and robbery.
* Devier - premeditated assault on his twelve-year-old victim, abducted her, raped her and murdered her by crushing her head with rocks as large as 49 pounds. Previous rapes committed.
* Lonchar - Entered the home of a bookmaker to whom he owed thousands of dollars, shot the bookie, his son, and a female companion whom he also stabbed seventeen times.
* Felker - raped, anally sodomized, tortured and murdered 19-year old victim, strangled her, and left her body in a riverbed.
* Cargill - execution style murder of husband and wife gas station owners with four young sons during the robbery of $482.79.
* Mincey - with three prior felony convictions, shot two people in the course of robbery, shooting them a second time at close range after each had fallen.
* High - prior conviction, abducted owner and eleven-year-old stepson during store robbery, taunted them, shot the boy in the head and killed him, shot the owner in the temple and wrist and left him for dead.
* Parker - prior conviction, molested her, choked and strangled 11-year old victim.
* Gilreath - murdered his wife by shooting her five times with a rifle at point blank range in her chest and once with a shotgun in her face, murdered her father by shooting him five times with different guns, covered the bodies in gasoline.
* Housel - after killing a man in Texas, stabbing a man in Iowa, and sodomizing a woman in New Jersey, he beat a woman in Georgia with a stick, crushing her skull in three places, and strangled her.
* Spivey - prior convictions, shot two people during a robbery of a cocktail lounge, killed one, fired blindly into a restaurant, injuring bartender, took a hostage with him to Alabama.
HOW WALLACE FUGATE’S CASE
COMPARES TO OTHERS
IN THE OCMULGEE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
Since the death penalty was reinstated in Georgia in 1973, the death sentence has been imposed in 24 cases in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, including four cases on re-trial. Chronologically, these include the cases of Guy Mason, Samuel Gibson, III, Charlie Young, David Peek, Johnny Westbrook, Eddie Finney, Andrew Legare, Tony Amadeo, Tony Hill, Robert Wallace, Andrew Legare on re-trial, Eddie Finney on re-trial, Andrew Legare on a third re-trial, Johnny Westbrook on re-trial, John Hightower, Leroy Tharpe, Wallace Fugate, Joshua Bishop, Robert Butts, Marion Wilson, Jr., John Esposito, Daniel Lucas and Brandon Rhode.
Cases in which death imposed, reversed,
death not imposed:
Of these cases, over 60 percent – 15 – have been reversed and the defendant was ultimately not sentenced to death. These are cases of Guy Mason, Samuel Gibson, III, Charlie Young, F. Lewis, David Peek, Johnny Westbrook, Eddie Finney, Andrew Legare, Tony Amadeo, Tony Hill, Robert Wallace, Andrew Legare on re-trial, Eddie Finney on re-trial (Mental Retardation Remand), Andrew Legare on third re-trial, and Johnny Westbrook on re-trial. All these cases were more aggravated than Mr. Fugate’s case:
* Without any provocation Guy Mason shot his female acquaintance four times after they left a party. After his case was reversed Mr. Mason was sentenced to life imprisonment.
* Samuel Gibson III shot the victim in front of her four-year-old daughter and also committed sodomy on her. After his death sentence was reversed Mr. Gibson was allowed to enter a guilty plea and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
* Charlie Young killed a bank official after having a dispute over outstanding loans. Mr. Young confronted the victim at his house, hit him at least once before firing several times at close range. After ripping out the phone from the wall, Mr. Young again hit the victim several times with the gun and possibly with another object. Mr. Young then drove to the bank and tried to rob it, using the victim’s wallet to pretend that he was holding the victim hostage. After his case was reversed Mr. Young was sentenced to life imprisonment.
* David Peek, whose attempt to have sexual relations with his relative’s girlfriend was rebuffed, killed his relative using an axe. Mr. Peek then chased his relative’s girlfriend, kidnapping and raping her before hitting her in the head with a stick in an attempt to kill her. Mr. Peek then beat to death an acquaintance who was staying at Mr. Peek’s now-murdered relative’s house. Later, Mr. Peek tried to escape when he was being taken to the hospital for a mental health examination. After his case was reversed, Mr. Peek was sentenced to life imprisonment.
* Johnny Westbrook and a co-defendant, Mr. Eddie Finney, had been hired to cut the grass in the victim’s lawn; instead, they attacked the victim, taking turns raping her. Because the victim did not have any money at home, Mr. Westbrook and Mr. Finney drove the victim at gunpoint to the bank and made her withdraw $600. When the victim tried to escape by running towards a neighbor’s house, Mr. Westbrook and Mr. Finney kidnapped the victim and the neighbor, driving them to a remote wooded area. Mr. Westbrook then used a piece of lumber to beat to death the neighbor; Mr. Finney similarly beat to death the victim. The bodies of both dead women bore the marks of severe physical assaults. Mr. Westbrook received life imprisonment without the possibility of parole after his trial was reversed. Mr. Finney received a remand for a determination of whether he was mentally retarded.
* Andrew Legare escaped from youth prison, broke into a man’s house and beat him with a crowbar and a wooden stick. Mr. Legare stole the victim’s car and fled to Florida. Neighbors found the victim bleeding profusely, having been beaten severely around the head. The victim died twelve hours later without regaining consciousness. After three death sentences were reversed he was sentenced to life imprisonment with parole.
* Tony Amadeo and two codefendants robbed James Turk, Sr. in Putnam County and then shot and killed him. Mr. Amadeo and his co-defendants also killed a man in Alabama during a robbery. Mr. Amadeo was the only one of the three involved in the robbery sentenced to death. After his case was reversed, Mr. Amadeo was allowed to pled guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
* Tony Hill kidnapped a twelve-year-old girl from outside a gas station. He then took the victim to a wooded area where he raped her and then bludgeoned her to death. The beating was so savage that there massive injuries to the abdominal area, including a ruptured spleen and pancreas, three ribs had been broken, both sides of the head were severely bruised and her brain was badly swollen. The medical examiner estimated that it would have taken the victim 5 to 15 minutes to die and that she would have experienced excruciating pain before dying. After his trial was reversed he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
* After being arrested for drunk driving, Robert Wallace shot was taken to the local jail. There he shot one policeman in the abdomen and tried to shoot him from close distance in the face, but missed. Mr. Wallace then shot another policeman in the neck. He was apprehended after fleeing in a police car. After his case was reversed and he was acquitted at his retrial.
People now under death sentence from the Circuit:
No one sentenced to death in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit since 1973 has been executed. Of the nine people from the Circuit who remain under sentence of death, Mr. Fugate’s is by far the least aggravated.
* John Hightower killed his wife and two daughters, chasing one daughter out of the house and shooting her three times.
* Leroy Tharpe killed his sister-in-law in front of his wife by shooting her in the arm, chest and head. Mr. Tharpe then kidnapped his wife, took her to a motel and raped her, Mrs. Tharpe finally escaped and called the police. Mr. Tharpe had a prior criminal record.
* Joshua Bishop killed the victim in order to steal his car. Mr. Bishop killed the victim by beating him to death with a wooden rod. Two weeks prior to this crime Mr. Bishop had committed another murder.
* Robert Butts targeted the victim in a store and asked for a ride with the intention of stealing the victim’s car. Mr. Butts then executed the victim by making him lie on the ground and firing a shot to the back of the head. Mr. Butts had a history of criminal conduct.
* Marion Wilson, Jr. was the co-defendant in the case with Robert Butts. Like Mr. Butts, Mr. Wilson also had an extensive prior criminal history.
* John Esposito robbed an elderly victim, drove her to an isolated area and then beat her to death with tree limbs and other debris. After this crime, he drove to Oklahoma, kidnapped an elderly couple, stole money from them, drove them to Texas and then beat them to death with a tire iron.
* Daniel Lucas burglarized a house two times and then killed the homeowners’ 11-year old son, who came home after school, by repeatedly shooting him. Mr. Lucas then killed the homeowner's 15-year-old daughter when she returned from school. Finally, Mr. Lucas killed the children's father when he returned home.
* Brandon Rhode was the co-defendant in the case with Mr. Daniel Lucas. In addition to the three murders he committed with Mr. Lucas, Mr. Rhode had a history of criminal conduct. In addition, he had escaped from one jail and had participated in an attack on a prison guard at another jail.
Cases from the Circuit in which
death NOT imposed:
Finally, the excessive nature of Mr. Fugate’s sentence is demonstrated by comparing his case with cases from the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit where the death penalty was not imposed. For example, in the six-year period from 1985 to 1991, the death penalty was not even sought in the following cases that are similar to or more aggravated than Mr. Fugate’s:
* Willie Johnson did not face the death penalty for the shooting and killing of his estranged girlfriend, Lanette McDonald. Ms. McDonald was shot during the course of an altercation with Mr. Johnson as he tried to pull her away from her friends and had a gun in his hand. Mr. Johnson was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
* Everett Brown did not face the death penalty for the killing of Evelyn Brown. Mr. Brown was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
* Sallie Webb and Steve Hagans was not sentenced to death for the killing of General Lee Chambers, the husband of Ms. Webb’s sister-in-law, Janet Chambers. Ms. Webb was found guilty of murder and burglary and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr. Hagans, the triggerman, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received a 20-year sentence. Ms. Chambers was acquitted at trial.
* Leroy Ross did not face the death penalty despite stabbing to death his girlfriend, Patricia Perry. Mr. Ross was charged with murder and burglary and was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for the murder and to 20 years for the burglary charge.
* Keith McKissick did not face the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison for the multiple stabbing death of his wife, Linda McKissick.
* Ed Dorsey did not face the death penalty for the shooting of his wife, Alice Dorsey.
* Bill Barnes did not face the death penalty despite killing his 21-year-old uncle, Michael Herring, and dumping his body in an open shaft well.
* Frank Cain, Jr. did not face the death penalty despite beating and shooting his estranged wife’s friend, William Duggan, Jr., during an argument with Mr. Cain’s wife about their children. Mr. Cain was originally charged with murder, but the charge was reduced to voluntary manslaughter and he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
* William Payne did not face the death penalty despite being charged with the murder of his mother; he had shot her with a shotgun.
While the death penalty was sought for William Cash for the shooting death of his estranged wife, Rebecca Cash, at her home, the jury convicted him of murder and burglary and he was sentenced to life and 20 years imprisonment respectively. During this same time period, there have been a number of other murders in the circuit that were more aggravated than Mr. Fugate’s which did not result in a death sentence:
* Mark Braxley received a sentence of life imprisonment with parole despite having participated with Joshua Bishop in two separate murders.
* Michael Bradley was sentenced to life imprisonment with parole despite his having participated in the robbery-killing of a young newspaper delivery girl, who was shot in the head and left for dead on the shoulder of I-20, dying four days later.
* David Overhelm did not face the death penalty despite shooting and killing Tommy Collins and then assaulting Rebecca Bryant with the rifle.
* Darryl Veal was allowed to plead guilty to murder and burglary in connection with the killing of Glenda Dunn during a burglary. Mr. Veal, who had been employed by Ms. Dunn to do yard work for her, received life in prison for murder and 20 years imprisonment for the burglary.
* Rene Bundrage was sentenced to life imprisonment with parole despite his having committed robbery in addition to killing the victim.
[The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 7/13/02]
Spare Fugate, paroles board is asked
By BILL RANKIN
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
Lawyers for condemned killer Wallace Fugate on Friday asked the state Board of Pardons and Paroles a second time to spare Fugate from execution by lethal injection.
The board will issue its decision at a later date, spokesman Heather Hedrick said.
Fugate was hours away from the death chamber last month after being denied clemency by the board, which at the time was short one member.
A Fulton County judge granted Fugate a stay of execution, saying Fugate's petition should be heard by the full five-member board.
Fugate, 52, was sentenced to death for killing his ex-wife, Pattie, in Putnam County in 1991.
Earlier this month, after Gov. Roy Barnes appointed Michael Light as the board's fifth member, the board scheduled Friday's clemency hearing. During the hearing, a number of Fugate's friends, former employers and co-workers asked the board to spare the condemned killer's life, Fugate's lawyer, Stephen Bright, said.
Shelly Senterfitt, former director of the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, told the board there have been numerous cases more aggravated than Fugate's in which either prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty or jurors did not sentence the defendants to death.
Bright unsuccessfully argued before the appeals courts that Fugate's initial lawyers, who lodged no objections during the two-day trial, presented such a lackluster defense on Fugate's behalf that his death sentence should be overturned.
This case presents a man who had been married to the decedent for 20 years, who was 42 years old at the time, who had no prior criminal convictions, who has maintained all along -– with corroboration from an expert at state habeas proceedings that the gun had a manufacturing defect – that the shooting was accidental. In these circumstances, Mr. Fugate's disproportionate death sentence is untenable and the Court should conduct a new proportionality hearing and vacate Mr. Fugate's death sentence.
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