It doesn't look like the pardons and parole board will reach a decision today. Here's the latest from reporter Tim Chitwood:
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles finished hearing from prosecutors in the Carlton Gary case about 3:50 p.m. and began its deliberations, with no word yet on whether it will render a decision today.
The timing indicates the board today heard about three hours of testimony from Gary's defense team and almost four hours from the prosecution.
District Attorney Julia Slater declined to comment on the board hearing afterward, and would not say who the prosecution's witnesses were.
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Gary's wife Debra was among the defense witnesses to address the state parole board today, urging it to grant Gary a 90-day stay of execution to DNA-test evidence from the 1970s rapes and stranglings of older Columbus women.
Gary's attorney, Jack Martin, is pressing the board to grant Gary the stay and on its own authority order the DNA testing.
"I told them they could set a precedent for doing what's right," said Debra Gary, 47, who married the death-row inmate on Jan. 28, 1996. Accompanying Debra Gary was her 25-year-old daughter Charity, whom Carlton Gary adopted.
Debra Gary was among about 20 people allowed in the hearing, which otherwise is closed to the press and public.
She said board members were intently focused on the testimony, taking notes and asking questions.
At one point they asked Martin why he didn't seek DNA testing in 2001 when he saw semen samples among the stranglings evidence stored in the Columbus Police Department. She said Martin told the board that "it was his fault" for not pushing for a DNA test then, but he never thought the case would reach the point at which the federal courts rejected Gary's appeals.
She said she speaks to Carlton Gary almost nightly on the telephone, usually for at least 30 minutes. "He's upset that it had to come to this and that we have to go through this," she said.
During the day Gary typically reads, works on his case, and helps other inmates with theirs, she said: "He stays busy."
The Board of Pardons and Paroles started its hearing about 9:20 a.m. The defense presentation ended shortly after noon.
"The board was very attentive, and we appreciate that," said Martin.
The meeting began with the board one member short, raising the possibility of Gary's being granted a stay of execution if that member can't quickly review a recording of the proceeding and vote today.
Board member Garland Hunt was in the hospital this morning, but was expected soon to see a doctor and to be able to catch up on the hearing in time to cast his vote by telephone, said Scheree Moore, the board's public affairs director.
The board has four members plus the chair, Gale Buckner. The members are Robert Keller, Milton "Buddy" Nix Jr., James Donald and Hunt.
Martin's witnesses were:
-- Dr. Thomas David, a dentist testifying that a bite-mark mold made from a wound on victim Janet Cofer's left breast does not match Gary's lower teeth.
-- Roger Morrison, an authority on blood work, who says semen tests used to link Gary to the crimes was flawed, and in fact should have excluded Gary as perpetrator.