A Georgia man convicted of a 1996 shotgun slaying maintained he “ain’t never took a life,” before he was put to death by lethal injection Thursday.
Marion Wilson Jr., 42, and Robert Earl Butts Jr. were convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the shotgun slaying of 24-year-old Donovan Corey Parks in Milledgeville -- about 90 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Wilson told his friends, family and supporters before receiving a deadly injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson: "I love y'all forever. Death can't stop it. Can't nothing stop it."
He accepted an offer to have a prayer read. The warden exited the execution chamber at 9:40 p.m. and Wilson was pronounced dead 12 minutes later.
Wilson was convicted in November 1997 of malice murder, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Butts, who was found guilty of the same charges about a year later, was executed in May 2018.
The killing occurred on March 28, 1996, after Parks went to a Walmart to buy cat food, leaving his car right out front. A witness heard Butts ask Parks for a ride, and several people saw them getting into Parks' car, according to a Georgia Supreme Court summary of evidence and the testimony presented at trial.
Butts was in the front passenger seat and Wilson was in the back as they left. A short distance away, the men ordered Parks out of the car, shot him in the back of the head and stole his car, prosecutors said.
At Wilson's trial, while asking the jurors to impose the death penalty, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright said Wilson "blew (Parks') brains out on the side of the road."
Parks' brother, Chris Parks, was a witness to the executions of both Butts and Wilson. He told The Associated Press last week that he was frustrated by how long it took for the death sentences to be carried out. Now, he said, he hopes his family can start to heal.
"Execution doesn't bring him back," he said, referring to his brother. "But what execution does is it offers a starting point for myself, my dad, our family, to finally get some sort of closure and to start healing."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.