A death-row inmate in Georgia was killed by lethal injection Tuesday night after a last minute plea to the the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay was rejected.
Lower courts had already rejected Robert Wayne Holsey's legal team's arguments that an intellectual disability and the fact that his trial lawyer was an alcoholic meant he should get a reprieve. And Georgia's high court had denied Holsey's request for a stay on Tuesday afternoon as the clock ticked down to his execution for the 1995 murder of sheriff's deputy Will Robinson.
"Robert Wayne Holsey is an intellectually disabled African-American man who was represented at trial by a chronic alcoholic who was more concerned about avoiding his own criminal prosecution than defending his client against the death penalty," his current lawyer, Brian Kammer, had said before the execution, which was carried out at 10:51 p.m. ET — an hour after the court rejected the plea.
Kammer had argued that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May that found Florida's standard for proving intellectual disability was too strict also applied to Georgia's rules. "We will keep challenging the burden of proof that Georgia requires. It is too heavy," Kammer said late Tuesday night. "It's the heaviest burden of proof in the law and guarantees that the mentally ill will be executed." Holsey's appeals had also argued that he did not have effective legal counsel because his lawyer admittedly was drinking up to a quart of vodka a day.