Georgia man who killed girl has execution temporarily stayed

  • This image provided by Georgia Department of Corrections shows Virgil Presnell. The life of Virgil Presnell, a Georgia man set to be executed Tuesday, May 17, 2022 for killing an 8-year-old girl should be spared, his lawyer argues, explaining that her client has significant cognitive impairments that likely contributed to his crimes and has suffered horrific abuse in prison. (Georgia Department of Corrections via AP)

    This image provided by Georgia Department of Corrections shows Virgil Presnell. The life of Virgil Presnell, a Georgia man set to be executed Tuesday, May 17, 2022 for killing an 8-year-old girl should be spared, his lawyer argues, explaining that her client has significant cognitive impairments that likely contributed to his crimes and has suffered horrific abuse in prison. (Georgia Department of Corrections via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/16/2022 10:01 PM

ATLANTA -- A judge has temporarily delayed the execution of a Georgia man who was scheduled to die Tuesday for killing 8-year-old girl 46 years ago.

Virgil Delano Presnell Jr. killed the girl and raped her 10-year-old friend after abducting them as they walked home from school in Cobb County, just outside Atlanta, on May 4, 1976. He was scheduled to die by injection of the sedative pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

 

A lawyer for Presnell had argued that he is 'úprofoundly brain damaged'Ě and didn't understand the harm he was causing the two girls. He is deeply sorry for the pain he caused and wishes he could 'útake it all back,'Ě attorney Monet Brewerton-Palmer wrote in a clemency application submitted to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Georgia's parole board on Monday declined to halt the execution, however lawyers for the Federal Defender Program, where Brewerton-Palmer works, filed a lawsuit last week and an emergency motion Monday in Fulton County Superior Court. They said the setting of his execution date violates a written agreement reached last April with the office of state Attorney General Chris Carr that temporarily put executions on hold during the coronavirus pandemic and established conditions under which they could resume.

As a result of the alleged breach of that agreement, Brewerton-Palmer received notification on April 25, only two days before the state planned to seek the execution warrant, leaving only three weeks before the clemency hearing, the lawsuit says.

Brewerton-Palmer had asked the parole board to postpone his execution by 90 days.

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