Clemency denied by State Board of Pardons and Paroles for Carlton Gary

The State Board of Pardons and Parole has denied clemency for Carlton Gary, known as the "Columbus Stocking Strangler".

On Wednesday, March 14, both Gary's lawyers and family will go to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. Carlton Gary, the 67-year-old inmate, is scheduled to die by lethal injection tomorrow, according to a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Gary was sentenced to death in 1986 for the rapes and murders of Florence Scheible, Martha Thurmond and Kathleen Woodruff.

From September 1977 to April 1978, the string of violent attacks on older women terrified the west Georgia city of Columbus.

Women between the ages of 55 and 89 became the target of nine rapes and seven strangulation deaths-sparking fear and sense of terror in the prosperous suburb.

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

DNA evidence found on clothing taken from the home of a victim who survived an attack and dramatically identified Gary at trial did not match his DNA, his lawyers wrote. Bodily fluid testing done on those samples likely excludes Gary as the attacker, they say, and DNA testing could have confirmed that. But a "stay" was granted as new evidence and DNA was made available. Additionally, they say, bite mark and fingerprint evidence relied upon by the prosecution was problematic and a shoeprint found at one of the crime scenes doesn't match with Gary.

Gary's appeals have continuously been reviewed and rejected by Georgia Supreme Court. Gary was only charged in three, but prosecutors believe he also carried out the other attacks. The other evidence his lawyers claim exonerates him is largely based on duelling expert testimony, state lawyers say.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, there have been 69 men and one woman executed in Georgia. He also has been linked to almost identical attacks in Georgia and NY and he admitted to being at the crime scenes in both states but blamed the rapes and killings on others, claims that were never corroborated, they say.

The parole board will have until Thursday, March 15th at 7:00 get a majority vote before Gary's scheduled lethal injection.