Georgia set to execute man who killed 2 women in 1994
By KATE BRUMBACK
ATLANTA (AP) - A man who killed his ex-girlfriend and another woman nearly 25 years ago is scheduled to be executed Thursday in Georgia.
Scotty Garnell Morrow, 52, was convicted of murder in the shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young and her friend Tonya Woods at Young's Gainesville home in December 1994. A third woman also was shot but survived.
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 Dec. 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 U.S. 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 had already been considered and rejected by courts.
A judge agreed with the state and dismissed the order, and Morrow's lawyers appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Morrow would be the first person executed in Georgia this year and the fifth executed nationwide. The state's execution protocol calls for a lethal injection of the sedative pentobarbital.
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