Judge halts Georgia execution of man who killed woman, child

ATLANTA Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:06pm EST

Nicholas Cody Tate is pictured in this handout photo from the Georgia Department of Corrections website. Tate who terrorized and murdered a woman and her 3-year-old daughter, after molesting the toddler, during a home invasion in 2001 is scheduled to be executed in Georgia January 31, 2012. Reuters/ Georgia Department of Corrections/Handout

Nicholas Cody Tate is pictured in this handout photo from the Georgia Department of Corrections website. Tate who terrorized and murdered a woman and her 3-year-old daughter, after molesting the toddler, during a home invasion in 2001 is scheduled to be executed in Georgia January 31, 2012. Reuters/ Georgia Department of Corrections/Handout

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ATLANTA (Reuters) - A judge halted the execution on Tuesday of a man who had been due to be put to death in Georgia for terrorizing and murdering a woman and her 3-year-old daughter during a 2001 home invasion that turned into mayhem, officials said.

Nicholas Cody Tate, 32, had been due to be executed by lethal injection after pleading guilty to the murders of Chrissie Williams, 26, and her daughter, Katelyn, and later abandoning appeals.

But a judge issued a stay around two hours before the scheduled 7 p.m. execution after Tate reversed course and decided to fight the state in a move that could delay his execution for years, said Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

"He apparently decided he wanted to appeal," Kane added.

Tate's grisly crime began when he and his two younger brothers went to the Williams house in Paulding County, about an hour outside of Atlanta, intending to steal money, weapons and drugs and rape Chrissie Williams, according to a Georgia Supreme Court synopsis of the case.

Three-year-old Katelyn answered the door and let Nicholas Tate and his brothers inside. Nicholas Tate, considered the ringleader, and his brother Chad Tate took Katelyn into a bedroom and molested her. When the toddler refused to stop screaming, Nicholas Tate ordered his brother to silence the girl, and Katelyn's throat was slit, the synopsis said.

Nicholas Tate and his other brother, Dustin, forced Chrissie Williams into another bedroom, where they handcuffed her to a bed and covered her eyes and mouth with duct tape. Nicholas Tate eventually placed a pillow over her head and shot her.

Authorities later arrested the Tate brothers in Oklahoma. All three pleaded guilty. Chad and Dustin were sentenced to life in prison while Nicholas was sentenced to death.

Tate, who had been scheduled to die on his birthday, declined a special last meal. He would have been the 35th person Georgia has executed by lethal injection.

Tate's execution would also have been the third in the United States this year, following Rodrigo Hernandez in Texas and Gary Welch in Oklahoma, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Last year, 43 people were executed.

Thirty-four U.S. states currently have the death penalty, the center said.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch, Greg McCune and Cynthia Johnston)

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Comments (5)
jroliver wrote:
This judge should be fired or kicked out of office

Jan 31, 2012 7:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
RikkiDoxx wrote:
Meanwhile several thousand children across the USA were murdered today in their mother’s womb. By law. In less than eight months. No appeal.

Jan 31, 2012 7:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Assimiltr wrote:
Maybe the Judge needs a reminder:

The crimes occurred on December 11, 2001. Tate was indicted by a Paulding County grand jury on February 20, 2002, on two counts of malice murder, eight counts of felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault, two counts of kidnapping, four counts of burglary, one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, two counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, two counts of possession of [*2] a firearm during the commission of a felony, two counts of false imprisonment, and one count of child molestation. The State filed written notice of its intent to seek the death penalty on July 8, 2003. On November 15, 2005, Tate pleaded guilty to eight of the twenty-nine charges against him, including the two counts of malice murder. Tate waived his right to a jury trial on sentencing for the murders, and a bench trial was conducted from November 28 to December 2, 2005. On December 19, 2005, the trial court sentenced Tate to death for each of the murders and to the following terms of imprisonment for the remaining counts to which Tate pleaded guilty, each to be served consecutively: two life terms for each of the two counts of kidnapping; ten years for conspiracy to commit armed robbery; ten years for child molestation; fifteen years for cruelty to children in the first degree; and five years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Tate filed a motion for a new sentencing trial on January 18, 2006, which the trial court allowed withdrawn in an order filed on July 7, 2009. Tate filed a notice of appeal on August 6, 2009, the appeal was docketed on November 30, 2009, for the [*3] January 2010 term of this Court, and the case was orally argued on March 8, 2001.

Feb 01, 2012 2:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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