Juror at his trial was a racist, says Georgia inmate facing execution

A prison warden talks with an inmate on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson in 2015. (AP file image)
A prison warden talks with an inmate on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson in 2015. (AP file image)

A Georgia man who is scheduled to die by lethal injection in 13 days is arguing that one of the jurors who put him on death row was motivated by racism.

Juror Barney Gattie, once said, “After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” court filings say.

Gattie has since died. That and other racist statements by Gattie are the basis of the latest appeal for Keith Tharpe. State courts and, last week, a federal judge in Macon have all rejected Tharpe's motion to reopen his case. His legal team has now appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Tharpe is scheduled to die on Sept. 26, almost exactly 27 years to the day after he raped his wife, who had left him and moved in with her parents, and shot and killed his sister-in-law.