ATLANTA - A former standout high school football player who was convicted of killing one person and injuring four others during a 1991 crime spree is set to be executed this month.
Daniel Greene is scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 19 for the 1991 murder of a teenager who rushed to help a west Georgia convenience store clerk who Greene had attacked. The former Taylor County star was sentenced to die a year later in a trial that had to be moved to metro Atlanta because of pretrial publicity.
The "spree of murder and mayhem," as court records describe Greene's crimes, began on Sept. 27, 1991, and covered three rural west Georgia counties.
His spree began with several visits to the Suwanee Swifty, a Taylor County convenience store. On the last visit, Greene pulled a knife on clerk Virginia Wise and forced her to hand him $142.55 from the register. He then took her to a back room and stabbed her through the lung.
Moments later, 19-year-old Bernard Walker entered the store, setting off an automatic doorbell that startled Greene. He left Wise behind and pounced on Walker as he rushed to help the clerk, stabbing him through the heart before speeding away. Wise survived her attack, but Walker died after collapsing in the store's parking lot.
Greene, meanwhile, drove to the Macon County home of an elderly couple, Willie and Donice Montgomery, who had previously hired him as a farm laborer. He forced Willie to hand over his car keys, and then stabbed both of them several times in the head. Both survived.
He next drove to a convenience store in Warner Robins, again pulling a knife on the attendant, who gave Greene money from the register, records show. He then stabbed her in the back of the shoulder before bolting. Greene was later arrested at the home of an acquaintance.
Greene confessed to the crimes in a videotaped interview, saying he needed the money to buy crack cocaine. But he later said he couldn't remember committing the crimes or giving a confession to police, adding that an acquaintance had given him a cigarette earlier that day that may have been laced with a mind-altering drug.
Greene's trial was moved to Clayton County because of all the media coverage in his hometown of the crime, and it was held under tight security. Greene, who is 6-foot-5-inches and weighed about 350 pounds during the trial, was restrained in court by a remote-controlled stun belt.
He was convicted in December 1992 of murder, robbery and assault and was sentenced to death.
His attorneys filed a round of appeals, including arguing that prosecutors shouldn't have suggested to jurors that Biblical passages called for the death penalty in Greene's case. They also argued that the judge wrongly disqualified five potential jurors who expressed reservations about capital punishment.
But state and federal courts rejected his challenges and this month the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the case.