Death row inmate Jimmy Meders. (Georgia Department of Corrections)
Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections
Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections

Lawyers seek stay for Georgia prisoner scheduled to die Thursday

Lawyers for Jimmy Meders, who on Thursday is scheduled to become Georgia’s 53rd prisoner put to death by lethal injection, have asked the state Supreme Court to give itself more time to hear their client’s last-minute appeal. 

A Butts County judge on Monday dismissed a petition by Meders’ legal team asserting his death sentence violates both the state and U.S. constitutions. They argued that, in cases similar to Meders’ 1989 conviction — with one victim and few aggravating circumstances — juries shy away from a death sentence. And prosecutors rarely seek it anymore under those conditions, wrote Meders’ co-counsel Michael Admirand.

State lawyers countered that “the execution of an unarmed man during the commission of an armed robbery,” among Meders’ crimes, fall squarely within the parameters of a death penalty case. 

Meders’ attorneys immediately appealed to the state Supreme Court. 

“Because Petitioner’s execution is imminent, he seeks a stay of execution from this Court so that this Court can give adequate time and consideration to his claims,” the motion states. 

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Meders was found guilty in the 1987 fatal shooting of Glynn County convenience store clerk Don Anderson. A little more than $30 was taken from the store’s cash register. Meders says DNA tests of the murder weapon will prove he wasn’t the shooter, but a Brunswick judge ruled against testing. The state Supreme Court will be hearing his legal team’s appeal of that ruling as well. 

On Wednesday, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles will meet in a closed-door hearing in which the condemned man’s lawyers are seeking clemency. 

“Every single living juror” confirmed that would’ve been their verdict had it been available to them, the clemency application stated.

Board members have sole authority to commute a death sentence.

Meders’ execution is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in Jackson. 

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