The Latest: Georgia executes man who refused to appeal case

ATLANTA (AP) " The Latest on the scheduled execution of a Georgia death row inmate who killed his girlfriend (all times local):

7:40 p.m.

Georgia has executed a man who essentially gave up on his case, telling a psychiatrist he didn't want to die but also didn't want to continue living in prison.

Authorities say 54-year-old Steven Frederick Spears was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday following a lethal injection. He was convicted of murder in the August 2001 slaying of his ex-girlfriend, Sherri Holland, at her north Georgia home in Dahlonega, about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta.

A psychiatrist who evaluated Spears this week said he was capable of making a rational decision about whether to fight his execution.

Court records say Spears choked Holland, wrapping her face and mouth in tape and putting a plastic bag over her head, because he suspected she had been romantically involved with someone else.

Spears was the eighth inmate executed this year in Georgia, which has executed more inmates than any other state this year, including Texas with seven.

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12:35 p.m.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to grant clemency for a death row inmate scheduled to die Wednesday.

The board held a clemency hearing for 54-year-old Steven Frederick Spears on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the board announced its decision not to spare his life. The board is the only authority in Georgia with the power to commute a death sentence.

As is customary, the board did not give a reason for its denial.

Spears was convicted of murder in the August 2001 slaying of his ex-girlfriend.

He's scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. In an evaluation provided by Spears' attorneys, a psychiatrist says he doesn't want to die. However, the evaluation says Spears is refusing to pursue any appeals because he doesn't want to continue living in prison.

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10:20 a.m.

A Georgia inmate set for execution Wednesday evening doesn't really want to die but hasn't pursued appeals because he also doesn't want to continue living in prison, a psychiatrist says in an evaluation report.

Lawyers for the state submitted to a court the evaluation of inmate Steven Frederick Spears, which was performed Tuesday. The evaluation by Dr. Matthew Norman says Spears doesn't meet any criteria for mental illness and has the capacity to understand his situation and to make a rational choice to decline to pursue legal challenges to his planned execution.

A lawyer with the Georgia Resource Center, which acts on behalf of death row inmates, had filed a petition saying Spears had declined to challenge his sentence because of mental illness.

A judge on Wednesday dismissed that petition.

Spears was convicted of murder in the August 2001 slaying of his ex-girlfriend Sherri Holland.

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3:15 a.m.

Georgia plans to execute a man who killed his ex-girlfriend in August 2001.

Steven Frederick Spears is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday evening by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital. The 54-year-old was convicted in the slaying of Sherri Holland at her home in Dahlonega.

A Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case says Spears killed Holland because he suspected she'd become romantically involved with someone else. It says Spears choked her, wrapped tape around her mouth and face and put a plastic bag over her head.

Spears would be the eighth inmate executed in Georgia this year, the most in a calendar year in the state since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. If the execution happens, Georgia will have executed more inmates this year than any other state.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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