Man executed for 1978 murder

ATLANTA – A convicted murderer was executed Thursday for killing a Savannah woman more than three decades ago, The Associated Press reported.

Roy Willard Blankenship was put to death for the 1978 burglary, murder and rape of 78-year-old Sarah Mims Bowen.

Blankenship was convicted in April 1980 and sentenced to death. However, the Georgia Supreme Court subsequently overturned the sentence.

In 1982, Blankenship was sentenced to death for a second time, and the sentence was again overturned. In June 1986, Blankenship was again sentenced to death; the sentence was upheld on appeal.

According to authorities Blankenship confessed to the murder after his arrest.

The state used pentobarbital as a sedative instead of sodium thiopental, according to published reports. Blankenship had sought a stay of execution because of the drug switch; a Fulton County judge on Tuesday denied the request.

This will be the first execution in Georgia using pentobarbital, The Associated Press reported.
Media witnesses for the execution were Greg Bluestein of The Associated Press, Eddie Ledbetter of the Statesboro Herald and Mitchell E. Peace of The Claxton Enterprise.

Blankenship declined to request a last meal, according to prison officials. Instead, he was offered the institution’s meal of chicken and rice, peas, carrots, collard greens, corn bread, a brownie and iced tea, prison officials said.

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