If executed as scheduled Thursday night, Carlton Gary will be the 48 th Georgia inmate to die by lethal injection, a method the state switched to 17 years ago.
The method immediately preceding that was electrocution, and before that it was hanging.
According to the state Department of Corrections, hanging was the standard method in Georgia from 1735 through 1924, with more than 500 legal hangings occurring over those years.
Georgia's first execution by electrocution was in 1924, with the first electric chair located in Milledgeville, before it was moved to Reidsville. The state temporarily dropped the practice in 1964, when the U.S. Supreme Court suspended all executions. In 1972, the court declared state death penalty laws unconstitutional.
Georgia passed a new death-penalty law the Supreme Court upheld in 1976.
The electric chair then was moved to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, where executions resumed. Between 1924 and 1998, 441 Georgia inmates were executed by electrocution.
Anticipating the courts' finding electrocution to be cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Georgia General Assembly in 2000 passed a law switching the method to lethal injection for all inmates condemned to die after May 1.
On Oct. 5, 2001, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled as legislators had expected, outlawing electrocution. Forty-seven inmates have died by lethal injection since the first on Oct. 25, 2001.
Listed by name, age, race, date of execution and method, these are the Muscogee County inmates executed since Georgia re-instated the death penalty in 1976:
Bowden was convicted of killing a Columbus woman and assaulting her mother after he and an accomplice forced their way into the victims' home. On Oct. 14, 1976, police discovered Wessie Jenkins barely alive in bed amid dried blood, and found her daughter in the kitchen, her skull bashed in and a butcher knife in her chest. The wounded, bedridden mother died weeks later in the hospital. Testimony showed Bowden's accomplice was the victims' neighbor, and the two had planned to break in and ransack the house.
Mulligan on April 12, 1974, was in a car's back seat behind Army Capt. Patrick Doe, his brother-in-law, as Doe's girlfriend Marian Jones Miller sat in the front passenger's seat. Mulligan put a pistol to Doe's head and killed him, then shot Jones four times. The car wrecked and Mulligan and a friend with him ran.
Tucker was convicted of killing 19-year-old Kathleen Perry during a convenience store robbery on Aug. 20, 1977. Trial testimony showed Perry had been drinking heavily that day before he went to the store and played a pinball machine, then he abducted Perry and took her to Pierce Chapel Road, where he stabbed her four times. Perry, a clerk for the Majik Market chain, was pregnant, and had married just months before the murder.
Known as the "Forces of Evil" killer, Hance was convicted in the Feb. 28, 1978 murder of Gail Jackson, 21, also known as Gail Faison, a prostitute. He is believed to have knocked her unconscious before bludgeoning her to death with a jack handle. He was convicted in military court for the similar murder of another prostitute, Irene Thirkield, 32. Authorities said Hance posed as a gang of white vigilantes called "The Forces of Evil" that would kill a black woman every 30 days until police solved the "Stocking Stranglings," the serial rapes and strangulations of older white women in 1977 and '78. He sent hand-printed letters to Columbus police making this threat and demanding $10,000. Investigators said Hance admitted also to the September 1977 murder of Karen Hickman, 24.
The last Georgia inmate to be executed by electrocution, Cargill was convicted in the Jan. 22, 1985, execution-style murders of Cheryl Williams and her husband Danny during a robbery at the Premium Oil Service Station on River Road. The two were found face-down on the floor, each having been shot twice in the head. Evidence showed Cargill and his brother Tommy robbed the station of $482.79 in cash and took Danny Williams' knife, worth $35.
On Dec. 27, 1976, Ronald Keith Spivey killed a man in a pool hall in Macon over a $20 wager before coming to a cocktail bar that was then in Columbus' Peachtree Mall, where he held a bartender, waitress and customer at gunpoint. Officer Billy Watson and a restaurant manager noticed around 2 a.m. that the bar was still open, and went in to investigate. Spivey shot Watson twice, killing him, then wounded the restaurant manager and shot him again when the victim moaned. The wounded manager ran back to his business for help, and Spivey followed, firing into the restaurant, hitting a bartender in the hip. He drove the barmaid to Alabama, where he was arrested.