Old age: the most unexpected of things

With the execution of Brandon Astor Jones, Georgia has set a fresh record – at 72, he was the oldest man on the US state’s death row.

He was executed by lethal injection.

Thirty-seven years ago Jones was convicted of shooting to death Roger Tackett, a shop manager in an Atlanta suburb. He was sentenced to death then.

The evidence at his trial stated that Jones and Van Roosevelt Solomon were arrested by a policeman who had driven a stranded motorist to the shop to use a pay phone about 1:45 a.m. on June 17, 1979. The officer knew the store usually closed at midnight and was suspicious when he saw a car with the driver’s door open and lights still on in the store.

The officer saw Jones inside the store, entered and drew his weapon after hearing four shots. He found Jones and Solomon inside and took them into custody. Tackett’s body was found inside the storeroom.

Tests showed each man had recently fired a gun or handled a recently fired gun. The cash drawer had been removed and was found wrapped in a plastic bag.

A federal judge in 1989 ordered a new sentencing hearing for Jones, because jurors in the 1979 trial had improperly been allowed to bring a Bible into the room where they deliberated his sentence.

He was re-sentenced to death in 1997.

Solomon was executed by the electric chair in February 1985.


Picture source: Flickr