A man who killed his ex-girlfriend and another woman nearly 25 years ago was executed Thursday evening in Georgia.
The Georgia attorney general's office said in a statement that 52-year-old Scotty Garnell Morrow was pronounced dead following an injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson.
Morrow was convicted of the fatal shootings of ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young and her friend Tonya Woods at Young's home in Gainesville in December 1994. Prosecutors said at trial that Morrow shot the two women and another woman when they turned him away as he tried to get Young to take him back. The third woman survived.
Strapped to a gurney before he received the lethal injection, Morrow apologised to the families of the victims. He also apologised to his own family and friends and told them he loved them and added he hoped the families of the victims would find peace and forgiveness. He then took several deep breaths once the drug began flowing before he became still.
Before his death at 9.38pm, Morrow chose a last meal not for the faint-hearted.
Morrow dined on a hamburger with mayonnaise, two chicken and waffle meals, a pint of butter pecan ice cream, a bag of buttered popcorn, two all-beef franks, and a large lemonade.
While the meal ranks as one of the biggest last meals on death row, it pales in comparison to Texas inmate Steven Woods' 2011 request.
Woods, who was executed by lethal injection in Texas for killing two people in 2001, ordered a mammoth 1kg of bacon, a large four-meat pizza, four fried chicken breasts, two drinks each of Mountain Dew, Pepsi, root beer, and sweet tea, two pints of ice cream, five chicken fried steaks, two hamburgers with bacon, fries, and a dozen garlic bread sticks with marinara on the side.
Morrow was the first inmate put to death in Georgia this year. His execution came shortly after the US Supreme Court rejected a last-hour bid to block the death sentence from being carried out.
Morrow and Young had been dating for about six months when she broke up with him in December 1994 because he had become abusive, a Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case says. He went to her house that December 29 to try to win her back.
Young was in her kitchen with two of her children and two friends when Morrow arrived.
The pair argued and Woods told Morrow to leave, saying Young didn't want to be with him anymore. Morrow yelled at Woods to be quiet, pulled a handgun from his waistband and began shooting.
He shot Woods in the abdomen, severing her spine, the summary says. He also shot Young's other friend, LaToya Horne, in the arm.
Young fled the kitchen and Morrow followed her to her bedroom, where he beat her and then followed her back into the hall, grabbed her by the hair and fatally shot her in the head, the summary says. Young's 5-year-old son, hiding in a nearby bedroom, saw Morrow shoot his mother.
Morrow then returned to the kitchen, fired a fatal shot under Woods' chin and shot Horne in the face and arm before leaving the home. Young and Woods died of their injuries. Horne was severely wounded. Arrested within hours, Morrow confessed to shooting the women.
Morrow's attorneys have argued he was beaten and raped as a child and that lingering effects from that abuse have left him unable to properly process and express his emotions. When Woods told him that Young had just been using him for money and companionship while her "real man" was in prison, he snapped, his lawyers have said.
Morrow was convicted on two counts of malice murder, among other charges, in June 1999. A state court overturned his death sentence in February 2011, finding that his trial lawyers didn't do enough to investigate and present mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase of trial. But the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence later that year.
His standard state and federal appeals were exhausted in February when the US Supreme Court declined to hear his case.
In a clemency petition, Morrow's attorneys had asked the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to spare his life. The board rejected that request after a closed-door hearing Wednesday. The parole board is the only authority in Georgia that can commute a death sentence.
Morrow's lawyers had described him in the petition as rehabilitated and a model prisoner on death row, a mentor to other prisoners and a help to guards. They said he feels great remorse for the pain and loss he caused the Woods and Young families.
Morrow's attorneys also filed a petition in a state court saying his death sentence was unconstitutional because it was improperly imposed. Lawyers for the state argued those claims are procedurally barred because they had had already been raised and rejected by courts.
A judge agreed with the state and dismissed the petition, and both the Georgia Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court ultimately refused to halt the execution.
Morrow becomes the fifth inmate executed nationwide this year.
The state's execution protocol calls for a lethal injection of the sedative pentobarbital.