Georgia death row inmate Ray Jefferson Cromartie was executed late Wednesday at the state prison outside Jackson for the 1994 murder of a Thomas County convenience store clerk.
According to state prison officials, the death sentence was carried out at 10:59 p.m. Cromartie was the 52nd inmate to be put to death in Georgia by lethal injection.
He was convicted in 1997 on charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, armed robbery and four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in two separate shootings.
According to a Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case, Cromartie shot Dan Wilson in the face at the Madison Street Deli in Thomasville April 7, 1994, before unsuccessfully trying to rob the cash register. Though his carotid artery was severed in the shooting, Wilson, who was washing dishes when he was shot, survived.
Three days later, on April 10, 1994, Cromartie and another man, Corey Clark, robbed a Junior Food Store of two 12-packs of Budweiser after Cromartie shot store clerk Richard Slysz twice in the head, killing him. According to the summary, Cromartie and Clark tried unsuccessfully to open the cash register before stealing the beer, one container of which broke open and spilled onto the ground as they fled.
Plaster casts of shoe prints in a muddy field next to the spilled cans of beer were similar to the shoes Cromartie was wearing when he was arrested three days later, the summary states. Cromartie’s left thumb print was found on a torn piece of Budweiser 12-pack carton near the shoe prints. Police also recovered a .25-caliber pistol that Cromartie had borrowed, and a firearms expert determined that the gun fired the bullets that wounded Wilson and killed Slysz, the summary states.
Georgia prison officials said Cromartie accepted a final prayer but did not record a final statement.