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State executes Alderman

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POSTED: October 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.

JACKSON -- A man who had been on Georgia's death row for 33 years was executed Tuesday for killing his wife in 1974.

Jack Alderman was pronounced dead at 7:25 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson.

The 57-year-old kept his eyes closed through the lethal injection process and declined to make a final statement but accepted a prayer from a priest in the death chamber.

"Jack, may Christ keep you free from excruciating pain," the priest said.

Alderman muttered a reply that could not be heard by witnesses. He had refused a sedative earlier in the evening and barely touched his last meal, prison officials said. He recorded a statement in which he thanked family for remaining supportive.

Alderman was calm throughout the 14-minute procedure. At one point he smiled, then his mouth went slack and his breathing gradually slowed.

Outside the prison, about 20 death penalty opponents gathered quietly with signs.

Alderman was sentenced to die for killing his wife, Barbara. He and an accomplice beat her with a crescent wrench and choked her at their home near Savannah before dumping her body in a creek. Prosecutors alleged he wanted to collect $20,000 in life insurance money.

Alderman was the state's longest-serving death row inmate.

He had been scheduled for execution last October but a stay was issued to allow the U.S. Supreme Court to sort out constitutional questions surrounding lethal injection.

Two members of the victims' family were at the prison but did not witness the execution, prison officials said.

Earlier Tuesday, Alderman lost his bid for clemency before the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. His father was among those who asked the five-member board to spare his life. The Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court each declined to issue an 11th-hour stay.

Those seeking clemency argued that Alderman has been a model prisoner and mentor in his more than three decades behind bars. They also noted that his accomplice, John Arthur Brown, was paroled after 12 years in prison.

But David Lock, an assistant district attorney in Chatham County, said Alderman instigated the crime.

"He was more culpable, without him, the crime would not have taken place," Lock said.

 

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