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Georgia inmate Brian Keith Terrell shook his head, proclaimed innocence before he was executed for 1992 murder

A death row inmate who insisted he was innocent shook his head while looking at Georgia officials before his death sentence was carried out early Wednesday.

Prison Warden Bruce Chatman announced that the time of death for Brian Keith Terrell, 47, was 12:52 a.m. Terrell was convicted of malice murder in the June 1992 killing of 70-year-old John Watson of Covington, a community some 35 miles east of Atlanta.

Terrell stole checks belonging to Watson, a friend of his mother’s, but the older man said he would not press charges if Terrell paid him back. But, prosecutors said, Terrell killed Watson instead.

When Chatman asked if he wanted to record a final statement, Terrell said, “No, sir.” But he did accept a final prayer.

Terrell lifted his head after the prayer and shook it while looking out at the front row where Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown and other state witnesses were seated.

The warden left the execution chamber at 12:29 a.m. Records from previous executions show the lethal drug generally starts flowing within a minute or two after the warden’s exit.

Terrell lifted his head again and looked out at the front row twice after the warden left and also shook his head back and forth multiple times while laying on the gurney.

Four news reporters witnessed the execution, but only a reporter from the Newton Citizen newspaper was allowed to be in the room when Terrell was strapped to the gurney and IV lines were placed. She said nurses appeared to have trouble placing the needle in his left arm, and the process took about an hour, which is longer than usual.

Terrell was the fifth inmate executed this year in Georgia. That’s the most executions the state has carried out in a calendar year since 1987, which also saw five executions, according to a database kept by the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes executions and tracks the issue.

 

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