Georgia's 'stocking strangler', Alabama man set to be executed

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Sabrina D. Graham with Georgia's Attorney General's office confirmed the U.S. Supreme Court denied two eleventh-hour appeals filed by Gary's attorneys at 9:45 p.m. local time (10:45 p.m. EDT), and that the execution of the convicted serial killer will be moving forward, local newspaper Ledger-Enquirer reported.

If the execution is carried out, Gary - who told Vanity Fair in 2007 that his eyes were damaged by a lack of light in jail prior to his trial - would be the first inmate executed in Georgia this year.

However, Gary's lawyers still have pending appeals asking to court to stop the execution, due to the limited evidence when he was tried in 1986.

Gary was charged and convicted of three counts each of malice, murder, rape and burglary for the deaths of Florence Scheible, 89, Kathleen Woodruff, 74 and Martha Thurmond, 69.

The west Georgia city of Columbus was terrified by a string of attacks on older women between September 1977 and April 1978. Most were choked with stockings and seven died.

Carlton Gary, 67, choked his victims with stockings in a series of murders in Columbus, Georgia.

Stocking Strangler Carlton Gary is trying to derail his execution in Georgia by firing his lawyers.

Gary's lawyers still say police arrested the wrong man, and newly discovered evidence proves his innocence.

Gary's lawyers have argued physical evidence that exonerates him wasn't available at the time of trial, either because the necessary testing wasn't yet available or because the state didn't provide it.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that they said connected Gary to similar crimes in NY state.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles, the only authority in Georgia with the power to commute a death sentence, declined Wednesday to spare his life after holding a closed-door hearing to listen to arguments for and against clemency. This is especially significant, they contend, because the woman survived the attack and dramatically identified him at trial.

The state countered in court filings that the evidence Gary's lawyers cited had already been considered by the courts and that his convictions and sentence had repeatedly been upheld by state and federal courts over the past three decades.

They also had argued that DNA from sperm found on clothing taken from one of the victims' homes was later found to belong to someone other than Gary. The Georgia Supreme Court denied Gary's appeal on December 1, 2017, and his motion for reconsideration was denied on January 16, 2018.

Gary said that his innocence has been proven by the recent DNA testing results and other evidence, including a footprint at one of the crime scenes and a bite mark on one of the victims.