Ray Jefferson Cromartie And Richard Slysz

Posted in Library of Congress, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on October 29, 2019

The state of Georgia plans to execute Ray Jefferson Cromartie, GDC ID: 0000944264. Mr. Cromartie was convicted of killing Richard Slysz, during a convenience store robbery on April 10, 1994. If you want more details, continue to read. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

Here is the story: “The evidence adduced at trial shows that Cromartie borrowed a .25 caliber pistol from his cousin Gary Young on April 7, 1994. At about 10:15 p.m. on April 7, Cromartie entered the Madison Street Deli in Thomasville and shot the clerk, Dan Wilson, in the face. Cromartie left after unsuccessfully trying to open the cash register. The tape from the store video camera, while too indistinct to conclusively identify Cromartie, captured a man fitting Cromartie’s general description enter the store and walk behind the counter toward the area where the clerk was washing pans. There is the sound of a shot and the man leaves after trying to open the cash register. Wilson survived despite a severed carotid artery. The following day, Cromartie asked Gary Young and Carnell Cooksey if they saw the news. He told Young that he shot the clerk at the Madison Street Deli while he was in the back washing dishes. Cromartie also asked Cooksey if he was “down with the 187,” which Cooksey testified meant robbery. Cromartie stated that there was a Junior Food Store with “one clerk in the store and they didn’t have no camera.”

In the early morning hours of April 10, 1994, Cromartie and Corey Clark asked Thaddeus Lucas if he would drive them to the store so they could steal beer. As they were driving, Cromartie directed Lucas to bypass the closest open store and drive to the Junior Food Store. He told Lucas to park on a nearby street and wait. When Cromartie and Clark entered the store, Cromartie shot clerk Richard Slysz twice in the head. The first shot which entered below Slysz’s right eye would not have caused Slysz to immediately lose consciousness before he was hit by Cromartie’s second shot directed at Slysz’s left temple. Although Slysz died shortly thereafter, neither wound caused an immediate death. Cromartie and Clark then tried to open the cash register but were unsuccessful. Cromartie instead grabbed two 12-packs of Budweiser beer and the men fled. A convenience store clerk across the street heard the shots and observed two men fitting the general description of Cromartie and Clark run from the store; Cromartie was carrying the beer. While the men were fleeing one of the 12-packs broke open and spilled beer cans onto the ground. A passing motorist saw the two men run from the store and appear to drop something.

Cooksey testified that when Cromartie and his accomplices returned to the Cherokee Apartments they had a muddy case of Budweiser beer and Cromartie boasted about shooting the clerk twice. Plaster casts of shoe prints in the muddy field next to the spilled cans of beer were similar to the shoes Cromartie was wearing when he was arrested three days later. Cromartie’s left thumb print was found on a torn piece of Budweiser 12-pack carton near the shoe prints. The police recovered the .25 caliber pistol that Cromartie had borrowed from Gary Young, and a firearms expert determined that this gun fired the bullets that wounded Wilson and killed Slysz. Cromartie’s accomplices, Lucas and Clark, testified for the State at Cromartie’s trial.”

“The same gun was used in shootings at both businesses in April 1994, according to the document. The firearm was found on April 12, 1994, near railroad tracks between Cherokee Homes, a housing project, and the Jail-Justice Center. As Cromartie and co-conspirators ran from the West Jackson store after the clerk was fatally wounded, one of two packages of stolen beer ripped open, and several beers fell on the ground. The state presented evidence that a fingerprint found on a piece of the package was Cromartie’s, and a footprint in mud near the store was from Cromartie’s Adidas shoe, the motion states. Co-conspirators each received 25-year prison sentences for robbery. Before the 1997 trial, the then-district attorney offered Cromartie a plea deal to life in prison with the possibility of parole, which, at that time, would have resulted in parole eligibility after seven years.”

Attorneys raised several issues during the customary twenty years of appeals. Some of these objections include: “Cromartie complains that the trial court should have granted his motion for a change of venue. … Cromartie’s motion to sever the offenses at the Madison Street Deli from the offenses at the Junior Food Store. … There is no evidence that any cognizable group was under represented in the Thomas County grand jury pool.” None of these issues was able to get the court to change its death sentence.

“On July 23, Attorneys Aren Adjoian and Loren Stewart filed a motion on behalf of Cromartie to order post-conviction DNA testing, but that and a 2018 request for similar testing did not impact the outcome of Cromartie’s sentence. He would still be eligible for the death penalty even if he didn’t shoot Slysz under a state statute that allows a party to a crime be convicted of that crime and subject to the same penalties.” has a petition to halt the execution, based on the DNA request.

The legal drama may be for naught. “Lawyers for a Georgia man scheduled to be executed next week say he has decided not to file for clemency. Ray Jefferson Cromartie is to be put to death Oct. 30. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to die for the April 1994 slaying of Thomasville convenience store clerk Richard Slysz. Shawn Nolan, an attorney for Cromartie, said in an emailed statement Wednesday that filing a clemency petition would require Cromartie to ask for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. And since Cromartie maintains he’s innocent, he can’t do that in good faith.” The Georgia Supreme Court will not halt the execution.

Ray Cromartie is a black man. There are no readily available pictures of Richard Slysz. A google search for RICHARD A SLYSZ July 1, 1942 – April 10, 1994 turned up this: Richard Slysz is my deceased Grandfather. – submitted by Shianne E. Slysz McGilvray on 02/07/2012. Shianne McGilvray is on facebook, and appears to be white.

“In the days leading up to the execution, Cromartie’s final meal details have been released. They include steak, lobster, macaroni and cheese, cube steak, rice and gravy, a steak and cheese sandwich, a double cheeseburger, fries, a side of ranch dressing, a strawberry milkshake and a layered cake with white icing.” Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. UPDATE: Ray Cromartie died at 10:59 pm, November 13, 2019. “Cromartie accepted a final prayer but declined making a final statement.”

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