ATLANTA, May 22, 2008 – Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles commuted the death sentence of a convicted murderer just hours before he was set to die by lethal injection.
Samuel David Crowe was sentenced to death in Douglas County for the March 1988 murder of Joseph V. Pala. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to commute Crowe’s sentence to life without parole, but the panel did not provide a reason for its decision.
“He was the only person I dealt with on death row in 16 years who I felt like if they released him that morning he would never get in any more trouble and he could make a contribution to society,” retired prison corrections Office Jack Bedsole wrote in a letter, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Since 1995, Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles has considered 24 death sentenced inmates, and this is the third sentenced inmate to be commuted.
There have been 41 men executed in Georgia since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1973. If executed, Crowe would have been the 19th inmate put to death by lethal injection. There are 109 men and one female on death row in Georgia, according to the state’s Department of Corrections.
The last execution in Georgia was May 6, when murderer William Earl Lynd was executed for for the December 1988 murder of Ginger Moore in Berrien County. Lynd’s execution was the first in the nation following an unofficial moratorium.