Friday 9 December 2016

Death row prisoner set to die faces reprieve based on recent diagnosis of autism

Published 18/10/2016 | 09:02

Lawler is scheduled to die Wednesday by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital
Lawler is scheduled to die Wednesday by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital

A man facing execution for the murder of a police officer is seeking a reprieve based on a recent diagnosis of autism.

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The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is scheduled to hear arguments for clemency from representatives of inmate Gregory Paul Lawler scheduled for execution this week.

Lawler is scheduled to die Wednesday by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. A clemency hearing is set for Tuesday.

The 63-year-old was convicted of murder in the October 1997 shooting death of Atlanta police Officer John Sowa. Authorities say Lawler also critically injured Officer Patricia Cocciolone.

Prosecutors say Lawler shot the officers as they tried to bring his intoxicated girlfriend home.

Lawler's lawyers say a recent autism diagnosis helps explain his actions the night the officers were shot. They are seeking a commutation of his sentence.

Lawler would be the seventh Georgia inmate executed this year.

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