ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday spared the life of an inmate facing scheduled execution, commuting the condemned man’s sentence the day before he was to be put to death.
Tommy Lee Waldrip, 68, was scheduled to be executed Thursday night for the April 1991 slaying of a store clerk who was set to testify in court against Waldrip’s son. After a hearing Wednesday, the board ordered that Waldrip’s sentence be commuted to life without parole.
Waldrip is only the fifth death row inmate whose sentence was commuted by the Parole Board since 2002. The last time that happened was in the case of Daniel Greene, who was spared from execution on April 20, 2012.
Waldrip was convicted and sentenced to death in the April 1991 slaying of 23-year-old Keith Evans in Dawson County.
Evans was a store clerk in Forsyth County and had testified in the 1990 armed robbery trial of Waldrip’s son, John Mark Waldrip. The younger Waldrip was convicted, but he was granted a new trial and released on bond, according to Georgia Supreme Court records from Tommy Lee Waldrip’s case. Evans was set to testify at the second trial.
The parole board’s order did not say why it decided to spare Waldrip from the death chamber.
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