Judge Grants Stay For Georgia Inmate Set To Be Executed Tomorrow

Marcus Ray Johnson

A judge in Georgia has granted a stay of execution for Marcus Ray Johnson, who was scheduled to be executed tomorrow, in order to give the defense time to perform DNA testing. Amnesty International had been seeking to stop the execution, citing unresolved doubts about the conviction, and today a judge agreed:

Judge Willie Lockette granted a stay of execution for Ray Johnson to check into DNA evidence in the Angela Sizemore murder in 1994.

Judge Lockette said he was just granting a stay. He was not granting new DNA testing or new trial. He said he will hold a hearing again February 1, 2012. The stay will give the defense time to review evidence and consult with experts.

Police last week discovered a box of never-before-seen biological evidence that could allow DNA testing and had requested a postponement on those grounds.

Georgia’s criminal justice system became the center of worldwide attention last month when the state executed Troy Davis despite lingering questions about his guilt, and the state is now set for a replay in the planned execution of Johnson. As with Davis, Amnesty International reports, “there is no physical evidence linking Johnson to the 1994 murder in Albany, Ga., of Angela Sizemore.” The case is built on the testimony of eyewitnesses, which are notoriously flawed to begin with, and in this case, the witnesses didn’t actually see the crime.