“Mr. Morrow’s only aspiration was to be a family man: He worked hard to be a good son, brother, father, uncle and friend,” the petition states.
Morrow has two sons and four grandchildren.
» RELATED | Georgia sets execution for Scotty Morrow
» INTERACTIVE | The faces of Georgia’s death row
A loving family was something Morrow never experienced growing up in New York. His federal defenders, Jill Benton and Nathan Potek, said Morrow, as a toddler, witnessed his father beating his mother. At 7, he was raped repeatedly by a family member, and later brutalized by his mother’s boyfriend, his lawyers said.
The Hall County jury that sentenced Morrow to death in 1999 never heard about those childhood traumas. In 2011, a state court judge overturned Morrow’s sentence, ruling that he had not been adequately represented by his lawyers. The judge ordered a new trial, but the Georgia Supreme Court later reversed that decision and reinstated the death sentence.
VIDEO: See how many years these 10 men have been awaiting execution.
Morrow’s latest appeal was rejected in 2018 in federal court. But Judge Charles Wilson, in a concurring opinion, said he was troubled by the failure of Morrow’s attorneys to present evidence that might mitigate arguments to impose a death sentence. Specifically, jurors were never told that Morrow had been raped repeatedly while growing up, Wilson said.
In February, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider Morrow’s case, exhausting his federal appeals.
Now his life is in the hands of the state. Following the hearing Wednesday morning, the parole board may commute the sentence, issue a stay of up to 90 days, or deny clemency.
Several testimonials on Morrow's behalf are included in the petition. Georgia Department of Corrections Special Agent Nathan Adkerson said, "I can truly say out of everyone out there that Scotty Morrow is literally the only inmate who I would do this for. And I've been in law enforcement for almost 16 years."
“There is no doubt that Mr. Morrow’s actions in the moments that followed were horrific and cruel,” his clemency petition states. “But there is likewise no doubt that they were fueled by immense pain. In Georgia, such crimes — spontaneous and hot-blooded — rarely result in a sentence of death, but rather nearly always receive a sentence of life or life without parole.”
Morrow would be the first person executed in Georgia this year and the 50th put to death in the state by lethal injection.