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Georgia, Texas Execute Murderers

November 16, 2001|Associated Press

JACKSON, Ga. — A man convicted of killing his wife and father-in-law in 1979 was executed Thursday, the third condemned inmate Georgia has put to death in three weeks.

Later in Texas, a Dallas man whose offenses began at age 11 when he stabbed a schoolmate was put to death by lethal injection for killing a restaurant manager in 1988.

The Georgia inmate, Fred Marion Gilreath Jr., 63, had received a one-day stay Wednesday for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his attorney's arguments that his clemency hearing was unfair. The court denied the motion.

In his final statement, Gilreath thanked his lawyers "for the good work they did for me, and for the men in blue, and the warden for treating me with respect, dignity and like a human being."

Gilreath's lawyers had contended that the clemency hearing was unfair because one member of the five-person state Board of Pardons and Paroles was absent and board members had conflicts of interest.

Gilreath was convicted of killing his wife, Linda, and his father-in-law, Gerrit Van Leeuwen, in Cobb County in 1979. His family argued that he should not be executed because the slayings arose from a heated domestic dispute. Gilreath was sentenced to death in 1980.

The Georgia execution was the third since the state Supreme Court ruled last month that the electric chair was cruel and unusual punishment. All three condemned men were put to death by injection.

In Texas, Emerson Rudd, 31, was executed for killing Steve Morgan, 23, a Dallas restaurant manager, during a crime spree investigators said involved more than 30 robberies.

"Politicians say that this brings closure, but my death doesn't bring your son back," Rudd told the victim's family. "It doesn't bring closure. I wish that I could do more, but I can't. I hope this brings you peace."

Rudd's was the 16th execution in Texas this year and the second this week.

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