Execution set for man in Ga. clerk’s murder

Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections

Photo: Georgia Department of Corrections

An execution date has been set for a man convicted of a 1987 murder in Glynn County.

Jimmy Meders, 58, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Jan. 16, the Georgia Department of Corrections announced Monday.

Meders was convicted of killing convenience store clerk Don Anderson, 47, on Oct. 14, 1987, while stealing money from the register. Anderson was shot twice, once in the head, once in the chest. Meders doesn’t deny committing the robbery, but testified that another man he was with pulled the trigger. That man, William Arnold, wasn’t prosecuted and testified that Meders shot the clerk.

On Oct. 14, 1987, Meders was hanging out and drinking with two other men after 2 a.m. when they stopped by a Jiffy Mart near Brunswick.

What happened in the store depends on whom you ask.

Arnold and Arnold’s friend, Greg Creel, who also wasn’t prosecuted, both testified that Meders had surprised them by pulling out his .357 Magnum revolver and shooting Anderson, according to court records.

Meders said Arnold surprised him by shooting the clerk.

Arnold and Creel both testified that they did not know Meders had the gun until they arrived at the store. But something Meders said on the stand complicated things.

He testified that Arnold had fired the gun earlier in the evening at two trucks. Arnold wanted revenge against one of the trucks’ owners because of a recent fight, Meders said. Arnold and Creel both said they had no involvement in the truck shootings; they didn’t accuse Meders of doing it.

A police report confirmed that a man’s truck was shot at the time and place Meders gave, and the owner told police he thought his vehicle might have been shot because of a fight he’d had with Creel. The owner of the other truck was the father of a man Meders said had a feud with Arnold and Creel.

“Whether Arnold and Creel shot at the trucks … does not change the undisputed facts that point to Meders’ guilt,” Ed Carnes, chief judge of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in a 2018 ruling affirming Meders’ conviction.

»MORE: 15 high-profile executions in Georgia

The evidence cited by Carnes was based largely on Arnold and Creel’s statements essentially matching, while Meders lied to police repeatedly, saying for more than a year that he knew nothing about the murder. Meders has said he lied because he was scared.

At trial, Meders acknowledged that the murder weapon was his gun, but he said Arnold had picked it up earlier in the evening. Meders claimed Arnold shot the clerk and turned to him and said: “No witnesses. Get the money.”

Meders took about $35 from the register. Included in the cash were two $1 bills and a $5 bill in “bait money,” which the store manager had planted in case robbers struck. The manager had written down the serial numbers, hoping they could be used in an investigation.

Police found the bait money at Meders’ home. Under his mattress they found the gun, which he said he had told Arnold to keep after the shooting. Meders said he had no idea how the gun got under the mattress. The defense argued that Arnold’s cousin had planted the gun.

The cousin, Randy Harris, initially told investigators he had no idea where Meders would hide the murder weapon. Two days later, Harris said he “had been thinking about it” and figured Meders would have put the gun under his bed. Police soon found it there. At trial, Harris contradicted himself by saying Meders’ wife Sherry had told him where the gun was.