October 30, 2019 / 11:10 AM / a month ago

Georgia's supreme court halts execution for man convicted of killing store clerk

(Reuters) - The Supreme Court of Georgia halted on Wednesday the execution of a man who was convicted of shooting and killing a convenience store clerk while stealing two 12-packs of beer with two other men more than 20 years ago, local media reported.

Ray Cromartie, convicted of shooting and killing a convenience store clerk more than 20 years ago, is seen in this undated handout photo taken at an unknown location. Georgia Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

The state’s high court issued a stay in the case of Ray Cromartie, 52, who was scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday evening for the 1994 shooting death of convenience store clerk Richard Slysz.

The stay was issued so that the court could determine whether the execution order was properly filed earlier this month, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

The Georgia attorney general’s office said the current execution order was void and that it would seek a new order, the newspaper reported.

Attorney general office officials could not be reached by Reuters for comment outside of normal operating hours.

Cromartie was accused of borrowing a gun from his cousin and then went to the Madison Street Deli in Thomasville and shot and wounded store clerk Dan Wilson in the face on April 7, 1994.

Three days later, Cromartie and his friends Corey Clark and Thaddeus Lucas went to Junior Food Store in Thomasville, Georgia, to steal beer. When the pair entered the store, Cromartie shot Slysz twice in the head, killing him, prosecutors said.

Cromartie and Clark tried to open the cash register but were unsuccessful. Cromartie then took two 12-packs of Budweiser beer and the men fled, according to court papers.

Cromartie was arrested three days later. During the trial, Clark and Lucas testified against Cromartie. Both men pleaded guilty to lesser charges, court papers showed.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Cromartie’s request for an appeal in his case in December 2018.

Cromartie would have been the 18th inmate in the United States and the third inmate in Georgia to be executed in 2019, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler

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