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Cobb has more people on death row than any other county in Georgia

Cobb County has put a tenth of the 59 men on Georgia’s death row in that position of being killed by the state.

Fulton County has five inmates; Baldwin and Muscogee have four inmates; Chatham and Richmond counties have three.

Georgia executed nine inmates in 2016 — more than any other year since capital punishment was reinstated nationwide in 1976 — after a backlog of cases from questions about the legality of the lethal injection.

Using archive materials and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s interactive database of death row inmates, here are Cobb’s six inmates facing death:

Watching an execution: AJC reporter was inside the death chamber

• Joshua Kevin Drucker, a former youth minister born in 1978, murdered two friends, David Robertson, 40; and Lora Nikolova, 25; in a dispute over drugs in a Marietta home. Drucker was the youth minister at Global Outreach Church his father pastored in Stockbridge. His father Rev. Doug Drucker called police after his son had told him what he’d done. The son has been on death row since October 2011.

• Stacey Ian Humphreys, born in 1973, murdered two real estate agents. The bodies of Lori K. Brown, 21, of Powder Springs, and Cynthia Williams, 33, of Acworth, were found in the model home of the Oakwind subdivision in Powder Springs.

Humphreys, who was on parole at the time, forced Williams to give up her PIN, tried to strangle her with her underwear and shot her in the back of the head. Moments later, Brown walked into the sales office. He demanded her PIN and then shot her in the head. He has been on death row since October 2007.

• Lawrence Joseph Jefferson, a Marietta man born in 1955, murdered his best friend and construction job supervisor, 37-year-old Edward Taulbee, at a part of Lake Allatoona in Cobb. They’d gone fishing when Jefferson hit him with a stick and crushed his skull with a 40-pound tree trunk in order to steal the victim’s wallet and car. He has been on death row since March 1986.

• Virgil Delano Presnell Jr., born in 1953, drowned 8-year-old Lori Ann Smith in the shallow waters of Nickajack Creek when she tried to escape after he raped her friend. Smith and her 10-year-old friend were walking home from school when Presnell kidnapped them near Russell Elementary School in South Cobb and took them into a secluded forest. Presnell freed the girl after getting a flat tire. Twenty three years later, the 33-year-old mother of two testified in court. Presnell has been on death row since October 1976.

• Lawrence Rice murdered a mother and her 14-year-old son in their East Cobb home because of a long-time grudge against Trevor Mincher — the woman’s husband, the boy’s father.  Rice beat to death 47-year-old Connie Mincher and her son Ethan, Pope High School freshman. Rice wrote a 138-page manifesto titled “Culture Shock” railing against Trevor Mincher. Rice had worked at Trevor’s video company but quit in a rage when he found out a new hire was making more money. Rice has been on death row since July 2008. 

• Demarcus Ali Sears, born in 1971, raped and murdered 59-year-old Smyrna grandmother Gloria Ann Wilbur because he and another man wanted her car so that they could get to Ohio. Sears and Phillip Williams, stranded when their car broke down in Atlanta, saw Wilbur putting groceries in the trunk of her 1985 Buick in a Kroger parking lot. Sears, wearing brass knuckles, knocked her out and threw her in the backseat. Sears raped Wilbur and Williams drove. Eventually, Sears took Wilber into some bushes along Interstate 75 and stabbed her to death. Williams, who agreed to testify against Sears, was sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms. Sears has been on death row since September 1993.

The AJC looked into how lethal injection works as part of an investigation into the drug:

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Watch as Freelance animator Chanel Nicholson and AJC reporter Rosalind Bentley show how a death sentence in Georgia is fulfilled through lethal injection.

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