Execution For Child Rapist & Killer Virgil Delano Presnell Jr Has Been Put On Hold In Georgia
The execution of Virgil Delano Presnell Jr, which was supposed to happen at 7 pm today, has been put on hold. Presnell Jr was convicted of abducting and murdering an 8-year-old girl and raping her 10-year-old friend in 1976.
A lawyer for the 68-year-old child killer and rapist has argued that his client is "profoundly brain damaged" and never understood the harm he was causing the two young girls - who he abducted as they walked home from school.
Virgil Delano Presnell Jr committed the horrific crimes in 1976 and was due to be executed by lethal injection at a prison in Georgia at 7 pm today.
His lawyers have managed to halt the execution by telling a court that it would break an agreement that effectively put executions on hold during the pandemic.
The lawyers said that under the agreement it was stated that no death sentences would be carried out until six months after three conditions had been met. These conditions were: the end of the coronavirus judicial emergency, the availability of a vaccine "to all members of the public", and the resumption of normal visiting rights.
Mike Caplan, a lawyer for the Federal Defender Progam said that prisons were still using a modified visiting policy, and children under the age of five still couldn't get the Covid vaccine.
A state lawyer argued that the agreement wasn't a binding contract and that Georgia had "substantially complied" with the terms of the deal.
The lawsuit also claimed that Monet Brewerton-Palmer, Presnell's lawyer, was only given two days' notice of the execution date, therefore not allowing enough time to prepare for Monday's clemency hearing or arranging for expert witnesses.
Georgia's pardons and parole board refused to intervene in the execution after the hearing.
Mike Caplan said: "This is often the best hope that a death sentence prisoner has of not being executed, the case this morning for clemency was completely gutted."
Ms Brewerton-Palmer claimed in her clemency application that Virgil Delano Presnell Jr, now 68, is "profoundly brain damaged" and could never have understood the harm he was causing to the two girls who he abducted as they walked home from school in Cobb County.
The killers' lawyers were successful in pausing the lethal injection, which was due to use the sedative pentobarbital, at a state prison in Jackson at 7 pm tonight.
Fulton County judge Shermela Williams issued a temporary order which blocked the execution to allow Ms Brewerton-Palmer the time to prepare for a new clemency hearing.
The judge said that Presnell would suffer irreparable harm if the execution wasn't delayed, adding, "We can't come back from death."