Execution date set for Marcus Ray Johnson for 1994 Albany murder

Georgia has scheduled the execution of Marcus Ray Johnson for Nov. 19, making him the first to be put to death since Kellie Gissendaner was executed Sept. 30 and the first of seven men who have exhausted their regular appeals and are eligible to be executed.

Johnson, now 50, was sentenced to die for the murder of Angela Sizemore, a woman he had met at an Albany nightclub.

Witnesses said Sizemore was so drunk, a bartender took away her keys. Witnesses also said Sizemore and Johnson started kissing soon after they met and then they left together. A man walking his dog the next morning, March 24, 1994, came up on her SUV parked behind an Albany apartment complex. Her battered and bloody body was inside the Suburban.

Soon after Sizemore was discovered police met Johnson at a church where a friend had dropped him off while she got some money to loan him. The police said that before they told him he was being arrested, he blurted, “I’m Marcus Ray Johnson. I’m the person you’re looking for.”

Later, Johnson told police Sizemore became angry because he did not want to “snuggle” after sex so he punched her in the face. He told police he remembers walking away after he punched her but nothing more until he woke up in his front yard as the sun came up.

.Johnson said, “I didn’t kill her intentionally if I did kill her.”

Investigators said Sizemore was stabbed or cut 41 times and she had bruises and marks from being struck and dragged. She had been sexually assaulted with a tree branch.

Johnson came close to being put to death four years ago. A day before he was to die on Oct. 5, 2011, a Dougherty County judge stopped it because his lawyers, after filing for a new trial, received a box of evidence. Some items had been turned over to defense attorneys in 1998 for his trial but they were mislabeled. Other evidence they had never seen and had not been tested — hair and fibers taken from Sizemore’s SUV, a blood-soaked paper bag, the clothes Sizemore was wearing and fingernail clippings.

At least six other men are eligible for execution and their dates should be set over the next few months. There are an extraordinary number of condemned murders ready for execution in Georgia simply because their cases have not survived the usual appeals though issues will be raised as their execution dates near.

More information is available here.

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