Execution: Georgia Man Set to Die for Murder of Former Girlfriend in Landmark Case

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – A Georgia man is facing execution on Wednesday evening for the murder of his former girlfriend, after his last-minute clemency plea was denied by a judge. Willie James Pye, 59, was convicted in the summer of 1996 for the kidnapping, murder, and rape of Alicia Lynn Yarbrough. Scheduled to be executed using pentobarbital at 7 p.m. local time, Pye’s case has sparked controversy as his lawyer argued he should not be put to death due to his intellectual disability, a fact withheld from the jury during his trial.

Pye, along with accomplices Chester Adams and Anthony Freeman, abducted and killed Yarbrough in 1993 in a tragic turn of events stemming from a planned robbery. The motive behind the crime was fueled by personal grievances, as Pye believed Yarbrough’s baby, whom he thought was his own, was wrongly claimed on the birth certificate by another man. Physical evidence and testimonies linked Pye to the crime scene, leading to his conviction and subsequent death sentence.

Over the years, Pye and his legal team have exhaustively appealed his case, citing issues with witness testimonies, legal representation, and Pye’s own cognitive impairments. Despite a temporary reprieve from a federal appeals court in 2021, Pye’s final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was ultimately denied in October. Now, facing the imminent execution, Pye’s last meal request reflects his final moments of freedom.

If the execution proceeds as planned, Pye will become the 54th inmate in Georgia to be put to death by lethal injection. The case of Willie James Pye serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and moral dilemmas surrounding the death penalty in the United States, igniting debates on justice, fairness, and the protection of vulnerable individuals in the legal system.