Carlton Gary, also infamously known as the Stocking Strangler, was set to die by lethal injection on Thursday.
Sabrina D. Graham with Georgia’s Attorney General’s office confirmed the U.S. Supreme Court denied two eleventh-hour appeals filed by Gary’s attorneys at 9:45 p.m. local time (10:45 p.m. EDT), and that the execution of the convicted serial killer will be moving forward, local newspaper Ledger-Enquirer reported.
Gary was accused of attacking nine elderly women from September 1977 to April 1978, seven of whom died. He earned his nickname by strangling his victims with their own stockings and raping and beating them as they died.
He was arrested in May 1984 when a gun stolen during a 1977 burglary was traced back to him. The upscale neighborhood where the weapon was found, was also where one of his victims lived, Fox News reported.
Gary was charged and convicted of three counts each of malice, murder, rape and burglary for the deaths of Florence Scheible, 89, Kathleen Woodruff, 74 and Martha Thurmond, 69. He was sentenced to death in August 1986.
For the last 30 years, Gary’s lawyers have been filing appeals through state and federal courts to revoke the order of his execution.
As a last resort, his attorneys filed four separate motions with Georgia Supreme Court, U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land of the Middle District of Georgia, the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a stay on their client’s execution, which was scheduled to take place 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. EDT) Thursday.
All the appeals of overturning Gary’s execution were denied, except the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, which was still pending late Thursday night.
One of the reasons behind throwing out Gary’s appeal, as the Georgia Supreme Court explained, was that his lawyers did not submit the additional application for a discretionary appeal to the Court and instead re-submitted an “original motion.”
“We conclude that Gary has failed to show why this Court must exercise its original jurisdiction in his case, something that this Court will do only in ‘extremely rare’ cases, which this case is not because the relevant recent decision in the trial court could be raised before this Court through an application for discretionary appeal,” the order said.
Gary contented there was enough evidence to prove he was innocent of the crimes he is convicted off. Some of that evidence includes recent DNA testing, a footprint in one of the crime scenes and a bite mark found on one of the victim’s corpses.
Meanwhile, protesters from a group called Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, gathered outside the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia, to protest Gary’s execution. However, they had not assembled to defend Gary specifically, as their mission was to protest capital punishment in general.
“We would be here no matter who it is,” Mary Catherine Johnson of Atlanta, one of the members of the group, said. “We are opposed to all executions.”