Georgia set execution of former sailor for Feb. 17

As Georgia prepares to execute a 72-year-old man on Tuesday night, the state has also scheduled the lethal injection for another Death Row inmate for later this month.

On Monday, a Houston County judge signed the execution warrant for former sailor Travis Hitton for murdering and dismembering a fellow shipmate from the USS Forrestal, an aircraft carrier based in Pensacola, Fla.

The warrant says he should be executed between noon on Feb. 17 and noon on Feb. 24. The Department of Corrections sets the specific time and usually the agency chooses 7 p.m. on the first day of the window, which would be Feb. 17.

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. Georgia is scheduled to execute Brandon Astor Jones for the 1979 murder of the manager of a Cobb County Tenneco convenience station and gas station.

Hittson was 21 years old in 1992 when he and another sailor visiting Houston County,Petty Officer Edward Vollmer, killr Conway Utterbeck..

Vollmer had invited Hittson and Utterbeck to go with him to his parents’ home in Warner Robins for the first weekend in April in 1992.

They spent most of that Saturday hanging out in the house — Vollmer’s parents were out of town – until Hittson and Vollmer decided that evening to hit the bars.

As the two were headed back to the Vollmer house, Vollmer told Hittson that Utterbeck had a hit list with their names on it and he was “going to get us.” Vollmer said they needed to kill Utterbeck before he could kill them.

When they pulled into the driveway. Vollmer put on a bulletproof vest and then a long trench coat. Vollmer took out of the car a sawed-off shotgun and a .22-caliber hand gun for himself and gave Hittson an aluminum bat.

Utterbeck was asleep in a lounge chair when Hittson hit him in the head. As Utterbeck begged for his life, Hittson and Vollmer shot him.

They cut up his body, burying some parts in Houston County and taking others with them back to Pensacola.

A logger found Utterbeck’s torso buried in Houston County. Almost two months after his death, Navy investigators linked Hittson and Vollmer to Utterbeck’s disappearance and his murder.

Hittson eventually told detectives he and Vollmer murdered and dismembered Utterbeck. His recorded confession was played for the jury during the punishment phase of his trial.

Vollmer reached a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to life in prison.

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