The same day the Georgia Department of Corrections announced convicted Columbus Stocking Strangler Carlton Gary's execution is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 16, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles just scheduled Gary's hearing for 9 a.m. Dec. 14, just two days before.
Board spokeswoman Scheree Moore said that after hearing from attorneys in the case, the board may consider four options: granting clemency by changing the sentence to life without parole, changing to life with the possibility of parole, denying clemency, or granting a stay of execution of up to 90 days.
The two announcements in one day indicate the pace with which the state's progress toward Gary's execution is picking up. Moore said board hearing's typically are set just a couple of days before scheduled executions.
Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington, who has been on the Board of Pardons and Paroles and served as commissioner of the Department of Corrections, said Tuesday that the parole board hearing likely would take no more than a day.
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“The board will make a decision that day,” he said. If the board denies Gary's appeal, the execution will occur “reasonably quickly after the board makes a decision,” he said.
Gary in 1986 was convicted in three of the seven slayings, the murders of Florence Scheible, 89, of 1941 Dimon St. on Oct. 21, 1977; Martha Thurmond, 69, of 2614 Marion St. on Oct. 25, 1977; and Kathleen Woodruff, 74, of 1811 Buena Vista Road on Dec. 28, 1977.
The other victims Gary was linked to were Ferne Jackson, 60, of 2505 17th St. on Sept. 15, 1977; Jean Dimenstein, 71, of 3927 21st St. on Sept. 25, 1977; Mildred Borom, 78, of 1612 Forest Ave. on Feb. 12, 1978; and Janet Cofer, 61, of 3783 Steam Mill Road on April 20, 1978.
The serial killer was given the moniker “Stocking Strangler” because of the ligature he more often left wrapped around victims’ necks.