Supreme Court denies delay of first Georgia execution since 2020

Courts Supreme Court 071123 AP Patrick Semansky

The Supreme Court denied the delay of Georgia’s first execution in over four years Wednesday night.

The state of Georgia was scheduled to execute Willie James Pye at 7 p.m. Wednesday for the 1993 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Alicia Lynn Yarbrough, by lethal injection, according to Georgia’s Department of Corrections.

Pye filed for a delay of his execution late Wednesday evening, arguing that the state has denied him due process and equal protection of the laws “by denying to a class of death-sentenced prisoners a benefit that they have explicitly extended to other death-sentenced prisoners in Georgia.”

“The potential injury is not only his death, but his early death pursuant to an arbitrary and unequal classification imposed by the State,” the court documents stated in the motion to halt the execution.

The state’s response to his appeal stated that the high court “should deny the petition and deny Pye’s request for a stay of his execution.”

According to data from the Department of Corrections, the last execution was held on Jan. 29, 2020. The Associated Press noted that there has been a four-year pause on executions in the state due to the coronavirus pandemic and legal arguments that were pursued afterward.

The Hill has reached out to Georgia’s Department of Corrections for comment.

The Associated Press contributed.

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