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US State of Georgia Executes Convicted Cop Killer

  • VOA News

FILE - The "death chamber" at the state prison in Jackson, Georgia, is seen in a Oct. 24, 2001, photo. Gregory Paul Lawler, convicted of killing a police officer in 1997, is the seventh person to be put to death in Georgia this year.

FILE - The "death chamber" at the state prison in Jackson, Georgia, is seen in a Oct. 24, 2001, photo. Gregory Paul Lawler, convicted of killing a police officer in 1997, is the seventh person to be put to death in Georgia this year.

The U.S. state of Georgia Wednesday executed a man convicted of killing an Atlanta police officer and wounding another with an automatic assault rifle.

Sixty-three year old Gregory Paul Lawler was put to death late Wednesday by lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson, some 80 kilometers outside Atlanta.

According to court documents, Lawler opened fire with an AR-15 rifle on two officers responding to a domestic dispute at his home in 1997, killing Officer John Sowa and critically wounding Officer Patricia Cocciolone.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a clemency petition from Lawler's defense team. The team had argued his life should be spared because a recent diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder explained why he shot at the police officers.

Lawler was the seventh inmate put to death by Georgia this year, and the 67th in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court re-instated the death penalty in 1976.

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