Scotty Morrow, Barbara Ann Young, And Tonya Woods

Posted in Library of Congress, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on April 26, 2019

The state of Georgia is planning to execute Scotty Garnell Morrow on May 2. He was convicted of the murder of Barbara Ann Young And Tonya Woods. If you want more details, continue to read. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

“Barbara Ann Young began dating Scotty Morrow in June 1994 and she broke up with him in December 1994 because of his abusive behavior. At 9:52 a.m. on December 29, 1994, Morrow telephoned Ms. Young at her home, but she told him that she wanted him to leave her alone. After hanging up, Morrow drove to Ms. Young’s home and entered without permission. Ms. Young was in the kitchen with two of her friends, Tonya Woods and LaToya Horne. Two of Ms. Young’s children, five-year-old Christopher and eight-month-old Devonte, were also present. There was an argument in the kitchen and Ms. Woods told Morrow to leave because Ms. Young did not want to have anything to do with him anymore. Morrow yelled, “Shut your mouth, bitch!” and pulled a nine-millimeter pistol from his waistband. He shot Ms. Woods in the abdomen and Ms. Horne in the arm. The bullet that struck Ms. Woods severed her spinal cord, paralyzing her from the waist down.”

“Ms. Young fled down the hallway and into her bedroom. Morrow caught her in the bedroom and beat her on the head and face. She managed to flee back to the hallway where Morrow grabbed her by the hair and shot her point-blank in the head, killing her. From his hiding place in a nearby bedroom, Christopher saw Morrow kill his mother. Morrow returned to the kitchen. Testimony as to clicking noises and the fact that a live cartridge was found on the kitchen floor indicate that he either reloaded his pistol or cleared a jam. He then placed the muzzle of the pistol an inch from Ms. Woods’ chin and killed her with a shot to the head. The medical examiner opined that, although she was paralyzed, Ms. Woods had not lost much blood at that time and was probably still conscious when the fatal shot was fired. Morrow also shot Ms. Horne two more times, in the face and the arm, and fled after cutting the telephone line.”

“Despite her injuries, which included a shattered palate, permanent deafness in one ear, and nerve damage in an arm, Ms. Horne managed to get to her feet and run to a neighbor’s house. She and Christopher told the responding police officers that Morrow was the shooter. Morrow confessed after his arrest and the murder weapon was found hidden in his backyard. At trial, Morrow admitted that he shot the victims because he “wanted [Ms. Woods] to shut up.””

“The crimes occurred on December 29, 1994. The grand jury indicted Morrow on March 6, 1995, for malice murder (two counts), felony murder (two counts), aggravated assault (six counts), aggravated battery, cruelty to a child, burglary, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The State filed its notice of intent to seek the death penalty on May 1, 1995. The trial was held June 7-29, 1999. The jury convicted Morrow on all counts on June 26, 1999, and recommended a death sentence on June 29, 1999.”

During appeals, the court appointed defense attorneys, Harold Walker Jr. and William Brownell Jr., were said to be incompetent. The specific charge was that they did not uncover evidence that Mr. Morrow was sexually abused as a child. “Morrow contends that we should vacate his sentence on the grounds that his trial attorneys provided ineffective assistance when they failed to uncover and introduce mitigating evidence from Morrow’s childhood and when they failed to hire an independent crime-scene expert to corroborate Morrow’s account of the murders.”

“… it is now unquestionable that Petitioner Scotty Morrow was sexually abused as a child. Childhood sexual abuse has a profound and debilitating impact on childhood development. … Morrow’s Trial Counsel failed to present evidence of his childhood abuse/trauma, making Morrow a poor witness in his own defense. Moreover, it “is clear that Trial Counsel’s investigation did not include meaningful inquiry into any portion of Petitioner’s formative years.” Based on its conclusive review of this important life experience that was never presented at trial, the Superior Court of Butts County granted the petition for a writ of habeas corpus and vacated Morrow’s death sentence, ruling Morrow was denied effective assistance of counsel at his sentencing hearing. His Trial Counsel did not provide enough mitigating evidence, especially the evidence of the abuse. The habeas court understood that Morrow was a poor witness in his own self-defense; by blunting his emotions, Morrow looked “flat, callous, and stoic,” and thus unsympathetic to the jury. Dr. Buchanan, a psychologist who testified at the trial without knowing anything about Morrow’s abuse history, admitted that knowledge about Morrow’s abuse would have made a difference in the trial. … Petitioner was also the victim of a series of rapes during this time period. Credible evidence exists that Earl Green, . . . sexually assaulted Petitioner in the basement on multiple occasions. During the time frame of these assaults, Petitioner began to wet the bed and display behavioral and adjustment problems. Additional evidence corroborates the assault evidence against Earl Green. We now know that Morrow had problems at school and was chased home by bullies when he was a student. George May, Morrow’s mother’s new partner, also beat him while he was naked.”

Others see things differently. “The Georgia Supreme Court reasonably concluded that trial counsel conducted an adequate investigation. Counsel made inquiries that would have uncovered the new mitigating evidence were it not for the silence of Morrow and his family. On the issue of rape, the Georgia Supreme Court found “that Morrow never reported any such rapes pre-trial to his counsel or to the mental health experts who questioned him about his background, including his sexual history.” … And counsel subjected Morrow to several psychological interviews that extensively probed Morrow’s family and sexual history but turned up no evidence of abuse. … We fail to understand what else counsel could have done to uncover the rape. Morrow and the alleged rapist are the only witnesses to the rape, and Morrow does not contend that he reported the assault, so any further inquiry would have been fruitless without Morrow’s cooperation. And counsel had no reason to doubt Morrow’s honesty.” The appeal did not work.

UPDATE: Scotty Morrow was pronounced dead at 9:38 pm, May 2, 2019. “Scotty Morrow requested a last meal of a hamburger with mayonnaise, two chicken and waffle meals, a pint of butter pecan ice cream, a bag of buttered popcorn, two all-beef franks, and a large lemonade.” Scotty Morrow’s final words: “I love you all. God bless.”

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