Saturday June 6th, 2020 4:49AM

Morrow executed for murder of ex-girlfriend, another woman

By Mitch Clarke and Joy Holmes

Scotty Garnell Morrow of Gainesville, convicted in 1994 for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and another woman, was executed by lethal injection Thursday.

The execution occured at 9:38 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson after a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed.

Morrow, 52,  was convicted of murder in the shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend Barbara Ann Young and her friend Tonya Woods at Young's Gainesville home in December 1994. A third woman also was shot but survived.

Morrow and Young had been dating for about six months when she broke up with him in December 1994 because he had become abusive, a Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case says. He went to her house that Dec. 29 to try to win her back.

The execution ended a day of  appeals for Morrow. Earlier Thursday, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected an appeal. Additionally, his request to appeal a ruling by Butts County Superior Court, which had issued an order denying a stay and rejecting Morrow's challenge to his death sentence, was also denied.

Morrow was visited Thursday by 10 family members, four attorneys, two clergy and a friend. At 5:30 p.m., prison officials reported that he had eaten about half of his final meal, which consisted of  a hamburger with mayonnaise, two chicken and waffle meals, a pint of butter pecan ice cream, buttered popcorn, two all beef franks and a large lemonade. Morrow refused to take a sedative given to inmates before the lethal injection.

Outside the prison, a small group of death penalty opponents was holding vigil. One of those in the group — Edwin Beckham — is an Espicopal priest from Covington, who said he has kept watch several times as an inmate has awaited execution. He said he has not spoken with Morrow's family himself, but knows others who have been in touch with them.

"I got the impression that Mr. Morrow has a fairly extended family with a lot of support," Beckham told AccesWDUN. "I think a number of them have traveled down here to be here tonight - in the area at least, maybe not here [at the prison]."

A woman — who only wanted to be identified as AnnaLisa —  a supporter of the death penalty and she traveled to the state prison to support the families of the victims.

"I think too often, as you see, there's lots of people over there protesting the execution, but there's no one here for the families. There's no one here to understand what the families are going through."

AnnaLisa said while she did not know the Gainesville victims, she empathized with their families, since she, too, had a family member who was a victim of murder. 

As the planned execution time neared, Morrow's lawyers filed a petition to the nation's high court requesting a stay. It raised questions about the constitutionality of Morrow's death sentence.

Morrow's attorneys have argued he was beaten and raped as a child and that lingering effects from that abuse have left him unable to properly process and express his emotions. When Woods told him that Young had just been using him for money and companionship while her "real man" was in prison, he snapped, his lawyers have said.

Morrow was convicted on two counts of malice murder, among other charges, in June 1999. A state court overturned his death sentence in February 2011, finding that his trial lawyers didn't do enough to investigate and present mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase of trial. But the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence later that year.

There have been 71 men and one woman executed in Georgia since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Morrow was the 50th inmate put to death by lethal injection. There are presently 49 men under death sentence in Georgia.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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