Community news items related to capital punishment.

Clemency Granted to Jimmy Meders

Six hours shy of his execution, Jimmy Meders was granted clemency by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. His sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As a result of this wonderful news, all vigils for his execution were cancelled.

56% of Georgians Favor Replacing the Death Penalty

In a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy from December 19 through December 23, 2019, 56% of Georgia voters favored replacing the death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. 33% were opposed while 11% were undecided. The margin for error in the poll was +- 4 percentage points.

Respondents were asked:

Because of the constitutionally-mandated appeals, additional trials and associated housing expenses, the death penalty costs Georgia taxpayers substantially more than sentencing prisoners to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Additionally, death penalty cases can drag on for more than a decade, forcing victims’ families to endure years of uncertainty and waiting. In contrast, a sentence of life in prison without parole would offer swift and certain justice that allows these families to move on with the healing process.

Given this, would you support or oppose replacing the death penalty in Georgia with a life sentence without parole?

The results paint a clear picture – faced with an expensive and error-prone system, a majority of Georgians are in favor of eliminating the death penalty and redirecting needed money to solving other crimes, investing in education to prevent crime, and providing more services to victims and their families.

Chart by Visualizer

The results hold true across the entire state, with a majority in each region in favor of replacement:

Region Support Oppose Undecided
Atlanta Metro61%27%12%
North Georgia46%43%11%
Central Georgia51%40%9%
South Georgia52%38%10%

The results were similar across age ranges, with a higher number of those under 50 favoring replacing the death penalty:

Chart by Visualizer
Chart by Visualizer

Women more strongly favor replacement, though a majority of men are in support:

Chart by Visualizer
Chart by Visualizer
Download the full survey results

Execution Date Set for Jimmy Meders

The State of Georgia has scheduled the execution of Jimmy Meders for January 16th, 2020 at 7 PM. If carried out, this would be the first person put to death in Georgia this year. Should a stay not be granted, and If you are able, please consider joining with Georgians of all faiths at one of the vigils below.

Regardless, please keep Mr. Meders, his family and friends, and the family and friends of Don Anderson, the victim, in your prayers.

Vigils for Jimmy Meders

Time: 7 PM
Location: 1324 GA Hwy 49 South, Americus, GA 31719
Contact: Elizabeth Dede
Phone #: 229-591-0114

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: UGA Arch on East Broad Street
Contact: Robbie Buller
Phone #: 706-338-4572

Atlanta-State Capitol
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 206 Washington St, Atlanta, GA 30334
Contact: Peggy Hendrix
Phone #: 404-771-8940

Augusta-Augusta Judicial Center
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 735 James Brown Blvd, Augusta, GA 30901
Contact: Ayman Fadal
Phone #: 706-284-3002

Clarkesville-Courthouse (Near the Gazebo)
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 226 Grant St, Clarkesville, GA 30523
Contact: Anne Hall
Phone #: 706-754-7011

Columbus-Columbus Consolidated Government Center
Time: 6 PM
Location: 100 10th St, Columbus, GA 31901
Contact: Edward Dubose
Phone #: 706-464-8539

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Hwy 520 & Hwy 82
Contact: Rev. Holley
Phone #: 229-407-0101

Decatur-Old Courthouse on the Square (Ponce Side)
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 101 E Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030
Contact: Andrew Johnson

Jackson-GA Diagnostic and Classification Prison (Death Row)
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 2978 GA-36, Jackson, GA 30283
Contact: Mary Catherine Johnson
Phone #: 404-273-0621

Johns Creek-St. Brigid Catholic Church
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 3400 Old Alabama Rd, Johns Creek, GA 30022
Contact: Cathy Schneider
Phone #: 502-592-9123

Macon-City Hall
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 700 Poplar St, Macon, GA 31201
Contact: Kellie Divis

Marietta-Cobb County Courthouse (On the Square)
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 12 E Park Square, Marietta, GA 30090 (on the corner of Cherokee & Roswell Street)
Contact: Debby Freel

Savannah-City Hall
Time: 5 PM
Location: 2 E Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401 (Corner of E Bay & Bull Street)
Contact: Sister Jackie Griffith
Phone #: 912-484-8378

Marion Wilson

Clemency Denied for Marion Wilson

The State of Georgia has scheduled the execution of Marion Wilson for June 20th, 2019 at 7 PM. If carried out, this would be the second person executed h in Georgia this year. On Thursday, June 20th, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Mr. Wilson’s petition for clemency. If you are able, please consider joining Georgians of all faiths at one of the vigil sites listed below. Regardless, please keep the friends and family of Mr. Wilson and Donovan Corey Parks, the victim, in your prayers.

Vigil sites for Marion Wilson

7 pm, 1324 GA Hwy 49 South
Contact: Elizabeth Dede – (229)-591-0114

6:30 pm, UGA Arch on E. Broad St.
Contact: Robbie Buller (706)-338-4572

6:30 pm, State Capitol, 206 Washington St.
Contact: Peggy Hendrix 404-771-8940

6:30 pm, Augusta Judicial Center, 735 James Brown Blvd
Contact: Ayman Fadal 706-284-3002

6:30 PM, Clarkesville Courthouse near the gazebo
226 Grant St, Clarkesville, GA 30523
Contact: Anne Hall 706-754-7011

6 pm, Columbus Consolidated Government Center
100 10th St. Columbus, GA 31901
Contact: Edward Dubose 706-464-8539

6:30 pm, Old Courthouse on the Square (Ponce side)
Contact: Andrew Johnson

6:30 pm, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison
Contact: Mary Catherine Johnson 404-273-0621

Johns Creek
6:30 pm, St. Brigid Catholic Church
3400 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022
Contact: Cathy Schneider 502-592-9123

6:30 pm, Macon City Hall
700 Poplar St. Macon, GA 31201
Contact: Suzanne Hobby-Shippen 478-207-7065

6:30 PM, Cobb County Courthouse (Cherokee St./Roswell St.)
Contact: Eileen Perkins 678-628-5082

5 pm, City Hall at Bay St. and Bull St.
Contact: Sister Jackie Griffith 912-484-8378

New Hampshire Abolishes Capital Punishment

The New Hampshire State Senate voted to override the governor’s veto of a death penalty repeal bill today. This allows the repeal to become law and makes New Hampshire the 21st state to abolish capital punishment in the United States. We join the people of New Hampshire in celebrating this victory for the dignity of all human life.

Scotty Morrow

Scotty Morrow Executed

Speaking words of contrition, Scotty Morrow became the first Georgian to be executed this year on Thursday May, 2nd. Scotty had been sentenced to die for the murders of Barbara Young and Tonya Woods in 1994. Mr. Morrow expressed remorse, and apologized to the Young and Woods family as his final act.

We are grateful for all who prayed for Scotty, his family and friends, and the family and friends of Barbara Young and Tonya Woods. Many Catholics also participated at various prayer vigils held Thursday night around the state.

Please continue to pray that our state will uphold the value and dignity of all human life, even for those guilty of violent crimes.

Scotty Morrow

May 2nd Execution Date for Scotty Morrow

An execution date of May 2nd has been set for Scotty Morrow. This would be the first execution of the year. Georgia last executed someone on May 4th, 2018. We will send more updates and action items as we learn more. Please keep Mr. Morrow, his family and friends, and the family and friends of Barbara Ann Young and Tonya Woods, the victims, in your prayers.


House Bill 702 Introduced to Repeal the Death Penalty

On Thursday, March 28th, a bipartisan group of representatives introduced House Bill 702 which, if enacted, would abolish the death penalty in Georgia. The bill will not get a hearing this year, but will be considered in the next legislative session. The bill was introduced by Representative Brett Harrell and co-sponsored by Representatives Bob Trammell, William Boddie, Scott Holcomb, Bill Werkheiser, and Scot Turner.

We will provide regular updates and action items as we learn more about this bill.

Pope Francis

Catechism Revised to Reflect Inadmissibility of the Death Penalty

Ever since Saint Pope John Paul II asked that the teaching on the death penalty be reformulated so as to better reflect the development of the doctrine that has taken place in recent times, successive Popes have continued to clarify Church teaching in regard to the death penalty.

Today, the Vatican announced that a section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church would be updated in light of Pope Francis’ developed teaching that the death penalty is inadmissible in all cases “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

The revised section of the Catechism reads:

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

A full explanation of the change can be found on the Vatican website at:

We hope you join us in thanks for this hope-filled day. We continue our prayers that our state, nation, and countries around the world will continue to move toward protecting ALL human life