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Death row inmate doesn't get clemency
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ATLANTA — The state pardons board has rejected a bid for clemency for a Georgia death row inmate who is set to die this month for the 1978 slaying of an elderly woman in Savannah.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles dismissed the request from Roy Willard Blankenship to postpone his June 23 execution date.

Blankenship would be the first person put to death in Georgia using a new three-drug execution combination. A switch was needed after the state surrendered its supply of the sedative sodium thiopental to federal regulators amid questions about how it was obtained.

He was convicted of the murder of 78-year-old Sarah Mims Bowen, who died of heart failure after she was raped in her Savannah apartment.

The pardons board had delayed the execution to give authorities more time to do DNA testing on the victim's remains. Defense attorney Brian Kammer said the tests were inconclusive.

Blankenship's attorneys also sought to delay the execution by claiming in a federal lawsuit that Georgia's stockpile of sodium thiopental had expired and that using outdated drugs may cause excruciating pain.

A judge rejected the claim, and the argument is moot now that Georgia switched drugs.


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