Jimmy Meders And Don Anderson

Posted in Library of Congress, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on January 10, 2020

The state of Georgia is planning to execute Jimmy Fletcher Meders, GDC ID: 0000516816, for the murder of Don Anderson. The crime took place in a Jiffy Mart, in Brunswick GA, on October 14, 1987. Mr. Meders was convicted, based largely on the testimony of Bill Arnold, and Greg Creel. They were present at the crime scene. This paragraph is the short version of the story. If you want to know more, you can read the rest of this post. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

The forgiveness foundation has this overview of the crime. Additional information will be posted below, with a link to the source. “On October 13, 1987, Jimmy Meders spent the afternoon drinking with three other men, before they headed to a motel later that evening. One of the men rented a room because he was having an extramarital affair. The other two men and Meders left the motel.”

“During the early morning hours of October 14, 1987, Meders and the other two men stopped by a Jiffy Store, where Don Anderson was the clerk. Meders went into the store with one of the men, who bought some food and went to warm it up in the microwave. The other man remained in the vehicle. Another small purchase was made before Don was shot once in the head and once in the chest, killing him. The money from the register was taken. … The other two men testified that they were not with Meders during the shooting, and that they did not have any knowledge of him having a weapon or planning to use it in a robbery.”

“Meders then returned to the motel and told the man there what he had done before leaving. The man at the hotel met up with the other two men and encouraged them to go to the police, which one did the following day. All three men gave similar statements and testified against Meders. When Meders was arrested, he had the bait money and food stamps in his possession. The murder weapon was later found under his bed.”

“During his trial, Meders alleged that he did not shoot the victim and was being framed because the man that stayed at the hotel thought Meders was having an affair with his wife. Meders was convicted by a jury and sentenced to death.”

Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of GA (August 22, 2018) has a thorough, and lengthy, description of the crime. Below are a few selections from this opinion.

“On October 13, 1987, Meders went to help his boss, Randy Harris, fix a car at Harris’ house. Bill Arnold and Greg Creel later arrived at the house. Arnold is Harris’ cousin, and Creel is Arnold’s friend. Meders, Harris, Arnold, and Creel spent the afternoon drinking beer and liquor. The four of them went to a Best Western motel later that evening, where Harris had rented a room for a young woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Meders, Arnold, and Creel left the motel later that night.” (Another account notes that “Harris eventually parted company with the other three to entertain a teenage girl in a motel room.”)

“Around 2:35 the next morning (October 14), the three men stopped by a Jiffy Store. Don Anderson, the store clerk, was shot twice—once in the chest, once in the head —and he died. The weapon used in the shooting was a Dan Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. Meders took between $31 and $38 from the cash register. Included in the cash taken were two $1 bills and a $5 bill that the store manager had planted as bait money—she had written down the three bills’ serial numbers and kept them in the store’s records so that the money could be identified if the store was robbed and the money was recovered. That bait money and some food stamps were found in Meders’ wallet and in his house after he was arrested later that same day. The murder weapon was found under his bed two days later.”

“Harris testified that later that evening all four men went to a Best Western motel. They continued to drink, “smoked a joint or two,” and sat around talking in the motel room. Meders, Arnold, and Creel left the motel around 8:30 p.m. but Meders returned to it around 3:15 a.m. After he did so, according to Harris, Meders pulled out a revolver and told him: “I just blowed a man’s head off over $38.00.” Harris thought he was joking, so Meders threw some cash and some “little white pieces of paper” about “the same size [as] a dollar bill” on the bed. Meders also opened the revolver’s chambers and dumped the bullets on the bed. Harris said that two of the bullets had been “freshly fired.” … Meders picked up the cash and the pieces of paper, put them back in his pocket, and left the motel.”

“Creel testified … stopped at a Jiffy Store because Creel was hungry. He testified that both he and Meders got out of the car and went into the store. Once inside, Creel grabbed a Yoo-hoo and a package of sausage and biscuits. While he was heating up his sausage and biscuits in a microwave in the back of the store, he heard a gunshot. He turned around and saw the store clerk falling against the wall and Meders facing the wounded clerk. Creel testified that he “tore out” of the store, and as he was running out, he heard a second gunshot. He exited the store, jumped in the back seat of the car, and told Arnold to “go” because Meders had “just shot a man.” He recounted how Meders had run out of the store, jumped in the front passenger seat of the car, and pointed his gun at Arnold and Creel. Arnold drove to Shady Acres, a trailer park, where he and Creel got out. Meders got in the driver’s seat, and Arnold told Meders “to never come around him again.” Meders asked Arnold and Creel if they wanted any of the money or food stamps he had taken from the store. They both said no, that they didn’t want any part of it.” The testimony of Arnold was similar.

“Margaret Clements, … the manager of the Jiffy Store … testified that … between $31.00 and $38.00 —which included the $7.00 in bait money —had been taken from the register, but she couldn’t determine how many food stamps were taken. She also testified that a receipt was left sticking out of the register, which showed a transaction for 51 cents at 2:35 a.m. on October 14, 1987.”

“Greg McMichael, a Glynn County police officer at the time of the shooting, testified that when he responded to the call at the Jiffy Store, he passed a car with several occupants driving away from the location of the Jiffy Store. And Matthew Doering, a detective from the Glynn County Police Department, testified that on October 14 he found that same car at Meders’ house. After impounding it, he searched the car and found a “Dandy Sausage Biscuits” wrapper.”

“Boyet (Jack Boyet, Glynn County Police Department detective) testified that on October 16, Harris came to the police station and said that he “had received information” that the gun used in the shooting was under Meders’ waterbed. Boyet executed a search warrant at Meders’ house that day and found a Dan Wesson .357 Magnum revolver “under the center of the [waterbed’s] mattress.” The firearms examiner later concluded that the revolver had fired the two bullets that killed the Jiffy Store clerk.” (A waterbed mattress is heavy. How did the weapon wind up there?)

Jimmy Meders had a different version of events when he testified. “Meders … said that during the afternoon of October 13, 1987, he and Harris took two 10 milligram Valiums each and drank some beer at the auto shop before Arnold and Creel met them at Harris’ house, where they all drank some more. He stated that Harris gave him $250 for some work he had done on a car, and Harris also bought a bulldog from Creel for $50. Meders testified that he, Arnold, and Creel “felt like getting drunk” so they went to the liquor store and bought some alcohol. Around 5:30 p.m., Meders felt like he had “had enough to drink,” so he stopped drinking —at least for a little while. He said that Harris then told him, Arnold, and Creel that he had to go pick his wife up from work, so Arnold and Creel drove Meders home. Meders testified that later that night, his friend Wayne Martin took him to the motel room that Harris had rented. Meders and Harris talked for a little while, then Martin took Meders back home, where Meders drank some beer and passed out on the couch. The next thing Meders recalled was Arnold waking him up around 11:00 or 11:30 p.m. insisting that he “go with him.” Arnold picked him up under the arms, and then as they were leaving Meders’ house Arnold grabbed the Dan Wesson .357 Magnum, which was the murder weapon. … “

“According to Meders, Arnold did not take him home but instead drove to a convenience store. After that Meders started driving the car, and as he was heading back to his house, he saw his brother and his brother’s wife making a deposit at a bank “right around the corner from [his] house.” When they stopped at the bank to talk to Meders’ brother and sister-in-law, Arnold got back in the driver’s seat. They then drove to another convenience store, and Arnold went in with Meders’ gun in his pocket while Creel and Meders sat in the car. Meders testified that they thought Arnold was just “kidding” around by taking the gun inside.”

“Meders testified that after Arnold returned to the car, he drove to the Jiffy Store, and all three men went inside. Meders testified that he and Arnold were standing near the counter while Creel went to the microwave. He stated that out of nowhere, Arnold “pulled the gun and shot” the clerk twice, then told Meders: “No witnesses. Get the money.” Meders grabbed the money out of the cash register, and the three men exited the store “pretty quickly,” got in the car, and Arnold drove to Shady Acres Trailer Park, where he and Creel got out. Meders told Arnold to keep the gun, that he didn’t want it back, and then he drove back to his house. He testified that after getting to his house, an officer pulled up and told him that he had a brake light out. Meders went inside and went to sleep on the couch. … ”

“Meders went back to his house, and several officers showed up. He told the officers multiple times that he did not know anything about the shooting, which he admitted at trial was not true. … Meders acknowledged at trial that he did not tell Detective Boyet that he witnessed the shooting until more than a year after the murder. He also conceded that although he did not know how the torn $1 bill from the bait money ended up on his television, the officers did find the other two bills of the bait money (the $5 bill and the other $1 bill) in his wallet. And he acknowledged that the officers found the murder weapon under his bed after Harris told them on October 16, 1987, exactly where to find it. He claimed that he had no idea how the firearm got there.”

The jury believed Arnold, Creel, and Harris, convicted Meders, and sentenced him to death. During appeals, Meders made the traditional claim of ineffective counsel. “Although his trial counsel initially represented him in the appeal, other counsel appeared for him and filed a new brief on his behalf that “raised questions about the effectiveness of trial counsel.” … “Because Meders’ trial counsel was hospitalized shortly before the remand hearing, he could not be called as a witness. Nor could he be called as a witness in the later state habeas proceedings because he died before they began.” The courts have consistently ruled against Meders in these appeals. The state plans to kill Mr. Meders with an intentional overdose of pentobarbital. UPDATE: Georgia parole board spares life of condemned prisoner The state has decided not to waste Jimmy Meders. He had already requested a last meal: ten chicken strips, two bacon cheeseburgers, french fries, soda, and a pint of vanilla ice cream.

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