Sowa’s widow, his sister, Cocciolone and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard spent about 1 1/2 hours with the board Tuesday afternoon.
On a Sunday evening 19 years and one week ago, Sowa and Cocciolone were dispatched to investigate a report of a man hitting a woman with a bag in a parking lot hear the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Lindbergh Drive. They came up on Lawler trying to pull his girlfriend, Donna Rodgers, to her feet. After Lawler walked off, the officers decided to drive the intoxicated woman home.
Moments after Rodgers had walked into the apartment she shared with Lawler, Lawler shot the fleeing officers with armor-piercing bullets. Sowa died on the lawn while Cocciolone, though wounded, called for help. Both officers still had their guns holstered.
If he is executed, Lawler will be the seventh person Georgia has put to death this year, which is more than any other year since the current death penalty law was adopted her 40 years ago. Only Texas has executed as many as seven people since Jan. 1.