Speed Reads

Capital Punishment

Oldest inmate on Georgia's death row executed

Brandon Astor Jones, 72, was executed by lethal injection at 12:46 a.m. on Wednesday at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification prison in Jackson, The Guardian reports. Jones was the oldest inmate on Georgia's death row, having faced 35 years of living with the death sentence after being accused of killing the manager of a convenience store in 1979 with an accomplice, Van Roosevelt Solomon.

Solomon was executed in 1985; Jones' sentence was overturned in 1989 because a trial judge had used a Bible to possibly influence the jury. Jones was sentenced again in 1977, although he continued to appeal for years saying he had a history of mental illness and childhood sexual abuse.

"We have this very strange situation now in which these people sentenced to death a long time ago — and who managed to get through all the stages of review — are now being executed. They almost certainly would not be sentenced to death today," President Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights told The Intercept. Bright called situations like Jones' "zombie cases" that "remind us of just how unfair" the justice system used to be.

Jones was the fifth execution this year and one of two scheduled this month in Georgia. Read more about Jones in The Intercept.