Lawyers for condemned prisoner Jimmy Fletcher Meders, 58, have asked the state parole board to spare his life.
Meders, whose execution is scheduled for Thursday, was sentenced to death in 1989 for the fatal shooting of Glynn County convenience store clerk Don Anderson.
At that time, jurors had little choice, Meders’ attorneys said in their application for clemency. Life without parole wasn’t authorized as a sentencing option until 1993.
“Every single living juror” confirmed that would’ve been their verdict had it been available to them, the clemency application stated.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles will meet Wednesday in a closed-door hearing. Members have sole authority to commute a death sentence.
Sparing his client’s life would not overturn the jury’s decision, Meders attorney Michael Admirand wrote.
“It would be effectuating it,” he said.
The six surviving jurors confirmed this, according to Meders’ application. And court documents show that, 20 minutes into their deliberations during the 1989 trial, they asked the judge, “If the jury recommends that the accused be sentenced to life in prison, can the jury recommend that the sentence be carried out without parole?”
“The jury’s decision that life without parole was the appropriate sentence reflected its conclusion that Meders was not among the ‘worst of the worst’ offenders for whom the death penalty is reserved,” the application stated. “He did not have any criminal history, and had found success in the National Guard, reflecting his strong character despite an upbringing marked by poverty, addiction, and abuse.”
Prosecutors maintain Meders received a just sentence. Last week, Senior Assistant Attorney General Sabrena Graham cited “overwhelming” evidence that he committed the murder and opposed his request for DNA testing of the murder weapon. A Brunswick judge agreed; Meders is appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court.
Meders contends he did not shoot Anderson in the chest and head, although he admits to being present with two others that night at the Jiffy Store. A little more than $30 in cash and food stamps were taken from the cash register.
Meders would be the first prisoner executed in Georgia in 2020. Three men were executed last year.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.